Dental implants are a great permanent option for replacing teeth and are comprised of three components: The titanium post, the abutment to hold the crown in place and the crown. A crown is a ceramic tooth that is designed to stand in for a natural tooth and restore functionality to the bite. Although implants are generally permanent fixtures, sometimes the individual components need to be replaced. Since the crown is the outermost component, it is the part that is most susceptible to damage and wear.
How long do crowns last?
Crowns are designed to last up to 15 years with proper maintenance and oral hygiene. With optimal care, they can last well past their 15 years. But since crowns are meant to function like normal teeth, they can get damaged and worn like natural teeth.
Whether your crown has worn over time or damage has occurred, replacing it is a fairly routine procedure.
When to get a crown replaced
Some signs that your crown might need to be replaced are when:
- A dark line around the gum has appeared near the crown
- Excessive wear has occurred
- The crown is cracked
- Gum infection has appeared at the base of the crown
- The crown is loosened
If you have experienced sudden trauma to the crown, make an appointment with your dentist immediately. If the crown is cracked, it will need to be replaced as soon as possible.
Crowns near the back of the mouth tend to deteriorate faster since they are used more often. Near the front of the mouth, crowns can last much longer than 15 years. A crown could need a replacement for a lot of reasons. Pre-existing medical conditions like decreased bone density or diabetes can also cause an implant to fail.
Conditions like bruxism, otherwise known as grinding your teeth, can cause a crown to crumble prematurely. Excessive wear on the crown may render it ineffective. A misaligned bite can also cause a crown to malfunction, as the surface can come in contact with opposite teeth in unnatural ways and cause erosion to key sections of the crown, ultimately leading to failure.
What to expect when getting a crown replaced
Replacing a crown is fairly similar to the original process of placing the crown. It is a straightforward procedure that generally needs two different appointments to be completed. In the first appointment, your dentist will start by removing the old crown. After the implant post and abutment are evaluated for functionality, the dentist will then take an impression of your bite. This mold will be sent off to the lab to create a new custom crown to be fitted in the second appointment.
The dentist will also fit a temporary crown so you will not have to go toothless between appointments. The temporary tooth will then be removed before the new crown is placed.
Contact your dentist right away for an evaluation if you suspect your crown may need to be replaced.
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