Dental crowns or caps, as they’re commonly called, can replace a large surface of a tooth that has been damaged, decayed or treated with a root canal. A crown can restore a damaged tooth and make it strong, functional and attractive. Crowns can be made of a composite resin, metal or porcelain. While crowns are strong, they don’t last for an entire lifetime and have to be replaced from time to time. How long a crown can last depends on a few different factors.
The material crowns are made of can affect how long the crown lasts. Porcelain crowns are translucent and reflect light in the same way that natural teeth do. For this reason, they are more natural looking than crowns made of other materials; however, they are also more fragile. The bite force you have when you bite into and chew food makes a difference in how long any crown will last, and if you have a particularly strong bite force, porcelain crowns are more likely to break than crowns made of other materials.
Resin crowns are the least expensive crown type, but they are prone to fracture. Metal crowns are strong and durable, but because they are silver in color, they are usually only used for back teeth.
A compromise between durability and appearance can be had with porcelain over metal crowns. These crowns are metal based, but porcelain is fused to the metal to give a natural looking appearance that can be color-matched to your other teeth.
How long dental crowns will last depends on many other factors in addition to the material they are made of. Practicing good dental hygiene by brushing and flossing twice a day will increase the life of your crowns. You can also increase crown life by limiting consumption of hard or crunchy foods. If you tend to clench or grind your teeth, your crowns may not last as long as they would for someone who isn’t “a grinder.” Habitual teeth-grinding is called bruxism, and many people do it while they’re sleeping and don’t even realize it. A dentist can determine if you are a nighttime grinder, and explain how that may affect your crowns.
On average, crowns can be expected to last at least 5 years. It is not unusual for crowns to last from 10-15 years.