After having a dental crown for several years, patients sometimes wonder if they should have their crowns replaced. This is a difficult question to answer because not every crown is exposed to the same environment. For example, someone who grinds his or her teeth at night will likely need his or her crowns replaced more frequently. Also, the type of material that was used to make the crown affects how long it will last. Metal crowns are the most durable and gold crowns can last for decades, though the cement holding the gold crown in place might not last so long and may need to be repaired.

Your Crown’s Aesthetics

Even if the crown is excellent, the tooth underneath the crown may continue to deteriorate and it may not be possible to repair the damage. As the tooth deteriorates, it may also not match the color of the crown, which can be aesthetically unappealing. This is especially true for teeth that are very visible, so you may need your crown replaced or modified if this is the case.

Tooth Decay

You may have the crown completely removed and replaced with a new crown. But normally, it is best to have the original crown repaired because the replacement of the crown can be damaging to the tooth underneath, increasing the odds that you will need a root canal. Still, if your tooth is decaying, not replacing the crown will be worse than not doing anything at all.

Extending the Life of Your Crown

You can prolong the life of your crown by avoiding bad habits. Stop biting ice, do not chew on your nails and do not use your teeth to tear packages open. If you avoid chewing hard foods with your crown, it’ll also be less likely to crack. Also, if you grind your teeth at night, you can get a custom-made mouth guard to avoid further damage.

Very Old Crowns Can Be Perfectly Fine

Though crowns are expected to last longer than 10 years, it doesn’t matter how old the crown is. If you do not have any decay, signs of wear and tear or discoloration, you may be able to keep your crown indefinitely.

You’re Likely Covered

Fortunately, most insurance companies will pay to have your crown replaced after five years if your dentist is not able to repair it. Since most dental crowns last at least five years, you will be covered. Therefore, if you notice anything concerning about your crown, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.