Do you know what happens when a tooth is severely damaged? If it’s decayed past the point of filling, has fractured, or is severely cracked there’s a good chance it’s going to get a dental crown. One of the most common restorations in the industry, crowns are safe, reliable, and long-lasting. But do you know how long they really last?
It isn’t just a long life that can ruin a crown. There are plenty of things that can go wrong with them, and it’s important that you know exactly what so you can prevent it from happening to you! If you have a dental crown we want to help you keep it and the tooth it’s protecting healthy.
Crowns: The Major Malfunctions
First off, do you know what a crown is? They are caps that are made for a tooth, enclosing it safely in a porcelain shell that prevents further damage, wear, or decay. Crowns are designed to last for about 15 years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will. Injury, damage, and other circumstances can knock them off, break them, or cause some other need for replacement.
So what can and does typically go wrong with dental crowns? There are a number of circumstances you could find yourself in, and it’s important you know how to fight the ones that you can.
Decay Under The Crown
Don’t let anyone tell you that a crowned tooth is safe from decay: it isn’t. While the internal portion of the tooth is pretty well protected there is still a lot of it that rests below the crown and below the gumline. That portion of your tooth is just as susceptible to decay as it ever was before.
It’s all too easy for bacteria to slip below your gumline. When it does it has total access to the unprotected portion of your tooth, leaving you with potential cavities that you won’t even see until they become serious. In many cases a cavity at or below the gumline can end up eating its way underneath your crown, causing severe damage that can make placing a new one nearly impossible.
In many cases excess decay under a crown will require extraction of the damaged tooth. You can prevent these problems by being sure your brushing and flossing habits are thorough and by getting a dental cleaning every six months. It’s essential to take extra good care of your dental restorations!
Crowns That Won’t Stay Put
When you have a crown you expect it to be there until you replace it. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case: they can and do fall off for a number of reasons! When they do you’re exposing the remaining portion of your tooth to bacteria and acids that it isn’t able to fight off.
A fully intact tooth is covered in enamel that protects it from decay. A crowned tooth, however, doesn’t have any enamel left. If a crown falls off the tooth is at serious risk for decay and damage: it’s essential that you get it fixed as soon as possible!
Crowns can fall off due to internal decay, weakened cement, chewy foods, fracture, or excess forces (like grinding your teeth). Don’t take chances with a detached crown: be seen right away!
Chips, Cracks, And Fractured Crowns
The porcelain we use at our Rochester dentist office to make crowns is incredibly strong, but it isn’t indestructible. Damage to crowns still happens, and when it does it can make them unsightly, unstable, or even damage them to the point that they need to be replaced.
There are other materials, like zirconia and gold, that can be used to create crowns. Some of these other materials are better at resisting chips and cracks, but are either more expensive or less realistic looking. Depending on the location of the tooth we may end up suggesting a different kind of material – it all varies based on your needs and wants!
How Old Is Your Crown?
If you’ve had a dental crown for a decade or longer it’s time to start thinking about its future. The longer a crown lasts the greater the chances that something goes wrong, and many of the problems dental crowns have are destructive to your smile!
If you want to find out more about the health of your dental crown it just takes a phone call to our Rochester office at 507-315-2932. You can also request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to helping you!