People with crowns sometimes worry about whether they need to be replaced. There's no right or wrong answer, but there are a number of factors to keep in mind. If any of the four factors listed below apply to you, book an appointment with your dentist so they can check out your crown and see if it needs to be repaired or replaced.
1. The Crown Was Fitted More than 10 Years Ago
Some crowns will last for decades and decades without any issues occurring, but they can wear down due to extended use. When a crown becomes worn, fractures become more likely; these are clearly best avoided. Additionally, a crown may begin to move out of alignment, which can affect both your bite and the surrounding teeth. Research has estimated a survival rate of 94% for crowns after 5 years or 90% after 10 years. If you're approaching the ten-year mark, you should at least have the crown checked by your dentist.
2. The Cosmetic Appearance Has Deteriorated
Having a crown that is noticeably different in appearance from the surrounding teeth can become embarrassing. This isn't often a problem with back teeth since these are tougher to see, but a discoloured crown fitted over an incisor or canine will be quite noticeable, so there's nothing wrong with having it switched out for a new one. One thing to keep in mind is your insurance policy; some will only pay for a new crown after a set period has passed. If the cosmetic concern is slight and no other problems persist, it might be worth waiting until that period has ended.
3. Any Cracks or Chips Have Occurred
All-metal crowns will rarely break, but porcelain crowns can fracture or chip. If this occurs, the seal over the tooth must be replaced. This might mean having the crown repaired, but a full replacement may also be necessary. The only person who can determine the right course of action is your dentist; make an appointment immediately if you think any damage has occurred. You might be able to feel a slight crack or chip with your tongue. Additionally, you may find yourself suffering from unexplained bad breath; this can occur when food debris gets caught inside a crown.
4. You're Experiencing Pain or Sensitivity
Finally, any discomfort should be a cause for concern. People often end up wearing the same crown for so long that they forget it's even there and fail to react to any specific issues around the tooth in question. However, sensitivity to hot or cold, pain while chewing, and bleeding or receded gums can all indicate an issue with the crown that demands the attention of your dentist.