- March 9, 2016
There are a lot of reasons why a tooth might need a dental crown: excess decay, a root canal, damage, or even simply wear and tear. Crowns do a great job at protecting damaged teeth, but they have their limits, one of which is time.
All dental restorations have limited life expectancies, even the ones we place at Shorewood Family Dental Care. Keeping a restored tooth healthy means understanding what could go wrong with that restoration. It doesn’t require a lot of difficult extra care, but there are particular things that can go wrong with dental crowns that you need to know about!
Understanding The Damage That Comes With Time
A dental crown, when it fits properly, should be able to keep the tooth beneath it safe and protected for around 15 years. This is just an average, of course, and the average crown can go bad as early as five years or much later than 15.
Time, as with any kind of restoration, is the enemy of the dental crown. Most of the problems that you’ll experience with a crown are due to wear and tear, but don’t leave traumatic injury out: it’s still a distinct possibility!
Decay Under A Crown? Deadly!
A properly placed crown won’t leave room for bacteria to get in, but that secure fit isn’t always permanent. Crowns have to be attached to your teeth with cement, and over time that cement can wear away and leave tiny channels between your crown and tooth. It doesn’t take much space for bacteria to get in and start working its way under the crown.
The scariest part about a cavity beneath a crown is that it’s really hard to notice them. In many cases the problem isn’t even detected until the crown has completely fallen off! If decay is bad enough it could be impossible to replace the crown at all!
It’s also possible to end up with decay beneath a crown without the wear of cement being the problem. Don’t forget what a crown is: it’s a restoration that covers the part of your tooth that lives above the gumline. Beneath your gums there’s still the roots of your tooth, and those can still end up with cavities.
Plenty of crowns fall prey to gum disease. As your gums recede you end up with the natural portions of your tooth exposed. If those become infected it can be a really bad problem for your crown!
Wear, Tear, And Damage
The dental porcelain that our crowns are made from is tough, but it isn’t as tough as your teeth. As your crown ages it’s possible for it to become chipped, dinged, and even for it to fracture. Damage to a crown might seem minor, but it could be more serious than it appears on the surface.
Don’t forget what a crown is: it’s a cap that fits on top of the remaining healthy portion of your tooth. That means it’s much thinner than a natural tooth and the loss of part of it due to a chip could weaken it quite a bit.
It’s also possible for crowns to fracture completely, leaving the remaining portion of your tooth exposed to your mouth. Incidents like these are more and more common as a crown ages, and you don’t even need to have damage to the crown itself for it to pop off due to wear!If you lose a crown it can be temporarily reattached, but don’t make that a problem you just cope with – the remaining part of your natural tooth needs protection!
When we reduce your tooth to fit under the crown it’s necessary to remove all the enamel that protected it. The piece that remains is much more susceptible to damage from bacteria and acids – it needs to be fixed before things start going bad!
Caring for a crown isn’t difficult – you need to treat it just like a natural tooth. Brushing twice a day and flossing are essential parts of keeping a crown healthy, but so is seeing us for regular cleanings and exams too!
Regular care can keep your crown healthy for its entire lifespan, as well as protecting your teeth and gums from harm. Don’t let your crown give way to a need for extraction – it doesn’t have to happen!
Keep your teeth – and crowns – healthy by giving our Shorewood office a call today. You can reach us at 815-725-5991 or you can request an appointment right here online. We look forward to seeing you soon!