How Long Do Crowns Last - savina dental clinics malta and gozo

When a dentist recommends a dental crown as part of your treatment, the first thing that probably comes to mind is which type of crown is right for you and how long it will last. Luckily, dental crowns, regardless of the material you choose, can last a long time, as long as you take good care of them. In this article, we will go over the different types of crown materials, their lifespan and ways to take care of them to extend their life.

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Dental crowns composition

Dental crowns help to protect, cover and restore the shape of damaged teeth. Crowns can be made of porcelain, ceramics, resin or metal. The type of material used to make your crown depends on your dental needs. For instance, if you’re looking at your treatment from a longevity point of view, metal crowns are your best option. If, however, you need crowns fitted to your front teeth, then it would be worth considering using porcelain or ceramic crowns. These materials are both strong and aesthetically appealing.

What is the average lifespan of dental crowns?

Dental crowns are made from sturdy material that is formulated to stand up against a lot of wear and tear. But how long they can last solely depends on how you take care of them. The majority of crowns can last an average of 10 years without a problem. With proper care, they can last far longer than that.

Factors affecting the lifespan of a dental crown?

Bad habits: Teeth grinding or clenching is a common cause of dental crown damage and basically any other type of restorative work done on your teeth. In severe cases, your dentist may recommend that you wear a nightguard when you sleep to minimize damage to your crowns and other teeth.

Oral hygiene: Poor dental hygiene increases your risk for tooth decay, resulting in a shorter crown lifespan. It is crucial to understand that a crown is cemented onto your natural tooth, so proper oral hygiene to prevent caries and gum disease is of paramount importance for the long term success of any crown.

Placement: Factors like how well a dentist prepares your tooth, the techniques used to take the impression and how they install a crown can make a huge difference in the lifespan of the crown.

The material used: Although all crown materials are designed to strike a balance between appearance and durability, some materials like metal are more durable than ceramic and porcelain which offer more aesthetic benefits.

External Trauma: Impact on your jaw or teeth can also shorten the lifespan of your crown as the tooth-supporting the crown may crack.

Types of crowns and their longevity

longevity of certain crown types - savina dental crowns malta and gozo

There are many types of dental crowns. Each crown is made of a different material which affects its longevity. Some of the most common types of dental crowns include:

Composite resin crowns

These are made of plastic-type materials, which are colour-matched to the natural teeth. The main downside of this type of crown is that it is not as durable and may discolour easily. On average, composite resin crowns will last around 5 years and their application is limited as they cannot be used in all scenarios.

Porcelain crowns

These are the most realistic-looking crowns. With proper care, porcelain crowns can last on average 10 years but can last much longer with proper care and oral hygiene.

Ceramic crowns

Just like porcelain, ceramic crowns closely resemble natural teeth. However, they are not as durable as other crown choices like gold. With proper care, ceramic crowns can last up to 15 years.

PFM crowns

Porcelain fused to metal crowns provide a good balance between strength and aesthetics. Over time, the metal margin of the crown tends to show as your gums recede. PFM crowns can last 5 to 15 years, provided you take good care of them. The porcelain facing may occasionally be prone to chipping in older crowns.

Zirconia

Zirconia is a new type of crown material that combines the strength of metal with the aesthetics of porcelain crowns. With proper oral hygiene and care, zirconia crowns can easily last 10 to 15 years or more.

Lithium disilicate

These crowns are made using a durable type of glass-ceramic that contains lithium and silicon. On average, they can last 5-15 years or longer with proper care.

Gold crowns

Gold crowns are the most resilient type of dental crowns. They are resistant to cracking and chipping and fit well to the tooth. The main drawback of these crowns is their unnatural appearance and cost. Consequently, dentists typically use them on molars that are not visible when you smile. With proper care, these crowns can last for decades.

How to look after your dental crowns

Brushing your teeth twice a day and everyday flossing are critical to maintaining the condition of your dental crown. Although a crown is fitted over a tooth to act as a protective barrier, the tooth underneath can still sustain damage or suffer from decay. When brushing your crown-covered teeth, always pay special attention to the gum line. This will help prevent plaque build-up and ensure that your teeth, gum and crown stay healthy.

The second most essential step to maintaining your crowns is attending regular dental checkups. The dentist will inspect your crowns for damages, whether their edges have a good seal and if they are causing any issues or discomfort. They will also advise you on how to best look after your teeth and keep your crowns clean. Ideally, have your teeth professionally cleaned every six months.

Are dental crowns more durable than veneers?

The main differentiating factor between dental crowns and veneers is coverage. A crown cups the entire tooth surface whereas a veneer only covers the front-facing part of a tooth. Also, crowns tend to be thicker than veneers. Based on the crown material and your oral habits, the lifespan of veneers versus crowns is similar. However, crowns may last longer due to their thickness.

How will you know when to replace your crowns?

Although modern crowns are strong and durable, they do not last forever and will need replacing over time. One way to determine whether you need to replace your crown is by getting it clinically examined by your dentist or getting a dental X-ray. These tests enable the dentist to see the problematic areas to determine whether to repair or replace the dental crown. Other signs that you need to replace your crowns include:

  • Pain in or around a crowned tooth
  • Your bite feels odd
  • Your crown is old or discoloured

Overall, crowns are an excellent solution for broken, chipped or missing teeth. With proper care, good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups, they can last you for years, perhaps even a lifetime. Consult your dentist to discuss the different types of dental crowns, durability and the pros and cons of each type of material to determine the best one for your needs.

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Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.

Joseph Xuereb
Principal Dental Surgeon & Owner of Savina Dental Clinics, Dr Joseph Xuereb BChD (Hons), MFGDP(UK), MGDS RCS(Eng), FFGDP RCS(UK), FICD is a general dental practitioner with a special interest in Implant and Restorative Dentistry. Dr Joseph & the teams' full biographical information can be found here.