Dental crowns should last between 10 and 15 years, on average. However, that life expectancy can be cut short by a number of factors, including lifestyle and oral hygiene habits that lead to cracked or damaged crowns.
If you suspect a crown has cracked or been damaged, you should contact a dentist. Dr. Robert Rapisarda, serving the Boston area, can examine your teeth to see if you have cracked crowns and recommend appropriate cosmetic dentistry measures to fix any problems. For your convenience, his practice also offers CEREC® dental crowns that can be designed and created in just one visit.
Common Causes of Damage
Your crown is strong, like your natural teeth, but it can be damaged. The most common causes of damage to a crown include:
- An Improper Bite. Your jaw creates tremendous pressure when you chew. If there is a discrepancy in your bite (how your teeth come together) then this pressure can damage a crown.
- Biting and Chewing Hard Objects. Bad habits such as chewing ice, biting your fingernails, and opening packages with your teeth cause extreme pressures that can damage a crown.
- Bruxism, Grinding, and Clenching Teeth. Patients who grind and clench their teeth can put tremendous pressure on crowns, causing them to break. If you suffer from bruxism, talk to your dentist about using a mouthguard when you sleep to protect both your teeth and crown.
- Accidental trauma. Your crown can be damaged, just like your teeth, during a fall or a hard knock.
- Decay. Although a crown does not decay, it may need to be replaced if the tooth underneath becomes infected. It is also important to keep gums around a crown healthy. If the gum around a crown recedes, it may allow decay to develop inside the crown, perhaps leading to a root canal treatment.
Problems with Crowns
Problems that can develop with a crown:
- Discomfort or Sensitivity. A newly crowned tooth may be sensitive for a while after the procedure. However, sensitivity that happens when you bite down may mean the crown is too high. Your dentist can easily fix this.
- Chipped Crown. All-porcelain crowns can sometimes chip. If the chip is small, composite resin can be used to repair the crown. If chipping is extensive, then the crown may have to be replaced.
- Loose Crown. Sometimes the cement that holds a crown in place washes out. This can allow bacteria to seep into the tooth and cause decay. Contact your dentist if your crown feels loose.
- Crown Falls Off. This may be caused by an improper fit, problems with the cement, or poor support for the crown if little remains of the original tooth. If a crown falls off, call your dentist for specific instructions.
If you suspect a dental crown has been damaged, it should be evaluated by a dentist. Minor damage may not require much repair, but in some cases a crown will need to be replaced. Only a dentist can determine what needs to be done. If you need advice, please call for an appointment.