Dental crowns are used to strengthen a tooth that's been weakened by a root canal. It can also be used to protect a tooth with a large filling that might otherwise fall out. Dental crowns are durable, but after several years, they may eventually weaken, leak, or break. Here are four things you should know about dental crown replacement:
1. Visible metal is not a sign you need your crown replaced.
The most popular dental crowns are made from metal, coated with tooth-colored ceramic that's meant to match your natural teeth. Over time, as the dental crown is subjected to the pressures of chewing, the ceramic may wear away. This will expose dark-colored metal underneath, but that's not cause for alarm. A crown with metal showing will protect your teeth just as well, and there's no need to have it replaced unless the look of it bothers you.
2. Your crown should last anywhere from five to fifteen years.
In general, you shouldn't have to worry about having your dental crown replaced right away. They're made to last, so you should think of them as a long-term investment. As long as you treat your crown well and take good care of it, you could be wearing the same one for fifteen years or longer.
3. Your dentist can check on the integrity of your crown.
Fortunately, your dentist doesn't need to guess to know if you need a replacement crown. By visually examining your dental crown for cracks, your dentist can spot the most severe forms of damage. Your dental X-rays will provide additional information. A crown that is leaking or no longer adequately protecting your tooth will be visible in an X-ray. If this is the case for you, your dentist will recommend a replacement.
4. Eating certain foods makes you more likely to need a replacement crown.
You can protect your dental crown by avoiding certain foods. Excessively hard foods can cause your crown to crack, so be careful not to bite down on bones, corn nuts, and hard candies. Sticky foods also pose a problem. Gum or candy that gets stuck to your teeth can pull your crown off while you chew. If this happens, you'll need to visit your dentist for a replacement.
If you think there's something wrong with your crown, don't hesitate. A damaged crown can lead to tooth decay. Visit your dentist immediately so they can evaluate your teeth and replace your crown if necessary.