How Long Do Dental Crowns Last? (And Other FAQs About Crowns)

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap placed over an existing tooth to improve its appearance and protect it from further degradation. Usually crowns are cemented into place after a tooth has cracked, broken or worn down, but it can also be used to cover misshapen or discolored teeth. Failed fillings or dental implants can also be effectively remedied with crowns as an alternative to full porcelain veneers, which tend to be a bit more expensive. Dental crowns are one of the many services we provide here at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry in Rocky Point, NY. Here are a few answers to commonly asked questions about this type of dental work, including how long crowns typically last.

How long do dental crowns last?

Insurance companies only cover dental crown replacement after five years. Thankfully, a 2009 study found that 95% of dental crowns will remain in place for at least five years. Study authors added that existing literature confirms the findings that most dental crowns (50-80%) are still in place at 15 to 20 years.

What are crowns made of?

The best crown material will depend upon how your teeth come together, your dental habits and where you go. Prefabricated crowns are made of plastic or stainless steel. Traditional crowns can be made of metal (gold, palladium, nickel or chromium), zirconia, porcelain fused to metal, porcelain fused to zirconia, or ceramic. Metal crowns are a good choice for out-of-sight molars because they are powerful and durable, and most people won’t notice the metallic color if they’re placed in back. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are ideal for front teeth because they match natural tooth color, although the porcelain portion can sometimes chip and there is sometimes a visible line where the cap is placed. All-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns provide the best color match and work well for front teeth where chewing force is not as great. Pressed ceramic crowns have a stronger inner core, but are capped with porcelain for natural color match.

How are teeth prepared for dental crowns?

Standard crown preparation requires two or more visits. First, x-rays will be taken of the tooth and surrounding bone. If significant decay or infection are discovered, a root canal treatment may need to be done first. The tooth in need of a cap is then filed down to make room for the new structure. Thinner all-metal crowns require less filing than all-porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. Filling material is sometimes used to build up the tooth structure in cases of significant natural tooth decay or damage. A paste or putty impression is then taken of the reshaped tooth to ensure proper crown fit. These impressions are processed in a dental laboratory where the crowns are actually made. You may be given a temporary cap while you wait the 2-3 weeks it takes to prepare your permanent crowns. At the second visit, the temporary is removed, adequate fit is checked, a local anesthetic numbs the tooth, and the new crown is permanently cemented.

What are same-day crowns?

Thanks to newer technology, Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry offers crowns made in less than 15 minutes! Same day ceramic crowns can be made right in our Long Island dental office. We scan your teeth with a wand attached to a camera that uses reflected light to create a 3-D image of your teeth. Next, our modeling software suggests a design, which our dentists can tweak as they see fit, and send the finished design to our in-house milling machine, which carves the crown from a block of ceramic to the exact specifications we set. The Wall Street Journal reported that “one-day crown technology is convenient and produces durable ceramic crowns” that fare as good as traditional crowns for most patients. They add that there are certain “aesthetic limitations” that may make the process less suitable for natural-looking front teeth and that lab-made teeth may be better for jaw-clenchers.

Are there any complications of crown placement?

Complications from dental crowns are extremely rare, though it is possible to experience some discomfort or sensitivity. The nerve within the tooth may experience hot or cold sensitivity – in which case you should use special toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. If you experience pain when you bite down, the crown may have been placed too high – which can easily be remedied, so call your dentist at once. Improperly placed crowns can chip, loosen or fall off. In rarer cases, people may encounter a previously unknown metal allergy.

How much do dental crowns cost?

When a new tooth is required for medical reasons, insurers may agree to cover up to 50% of the bill. Ultimately, the cost of a dental crown varies based on materials used, size, location, preparation work, local rates, and your dentist’s training and experience.

What can I do to ensure my crowns last a long time?

To ensure durability of your crowns, we recommend:

  • Avoid biting your nails, chewing on ice, and opening packaging material with your teeth.
  • Avoid clenching or grinding your teeth. If it’s a problem at night, ask your dentist about a mouth guard.
  • Brush, floss and mouth-wash to avoid decay of the surrounding tooth structures.
  • Attend dental checkups twice annually.

If you have any other questions about getting dental crowns in Suffolk County, Long Island, do not hesitate to contact us.

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Jenn Fusion

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