It is said that nothing in life lasts forever, and when it comes to your dentition, this includes any crowns you may have had fitted many years ago. If you've been experiencing some issues currently, you may be wondering whether it is time for a replacement and what conditions give rise to this need. What do you need to think about?
In many cases, dental crowns will last for a generation or more, but a lot will depend on how much wear and tear they experience during their life and the standard of your own oral hygiene.
Open to Damage
You also need to consider the type of crown and how each one can be compromised in certain situations. For example, your porcelain crown may be either all ceramic or fused to metal. The porcelain component is susceptible to damage, and in the case of an all-ceramic crown, may fracture all the way through, compromising its structural integrity. This is why this type of crown is usually fitted to the front teeth and not the back, because there is a lot more potential for damage in the back due to the force involved with chewing and biting.
With a fused-to-metal crown, the porcelain component is added to a thin metal jacket which covers the host tooth beneath. The crown is less likely to be compromised as when damage does occur, it is usually only to the outer porcelain piece. Dentists are then able to repair this damage in many cases and save the original work. However, if the issue is more extensive, the entire crown may need to be replaced.
Some people grind their teeth when they are asleep, and this can cause extensive damage to their dentition over time. They may also clench their teeth when they are awake in stressful situations and without realising that they are doing so. Nevertheless, the pressures involved can be significant and can often cause damage to any crown work in place.
Furthermore, the crowns themselves can cause a lot of wear and tear to the teeth that they oppose. Technically, they are made from a material that is much more abrasive than natural teeth, although modern-day crown replacements are much less of an issue. You may want to consider replacing old crowns with the new material to help safeguard the opposing teeth.
Call in and see your dentist to get their advice about your dental treatment. They'll be able to tell you whether you need to replace your crowns with something more up-to-date.