Dental Crowns – How Long Should They Last?

Excerpt: Crowns are used to protect or restore teeth that have been damaged...
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Crowns are used to protect or restore teeth that have been damaged from decay, trauma, or extensive dental work. Dental crowns come in a variety of different materials and colors based on their position and function. If you have a dental crown that is covering a molar, it will need to be durable to withstand the work, but it does not necessarily need to be tooth-colored as it will be less visible. 


Gold and metal crowns are the strongest crowns, but they stick out significantly more than porcelain crowns. Gold crowns are typically used for teeth that are meant for chewing and grinding your food. Porcelain crowns are tooth-colored and do last a long time, but they are not as strong. Porcelain crowns are generally used for more visible teeth.

dental crown in 3d

How Well Should A Crown Fit On The Tooth?

Crowns are meant to replicate the function of the tooth. The crown should also be cemented firmly into place so it does not move at all, it should feel as stable as a normal tooth. If your crown is loose at all, you should immediately tell the dentist so they can fix it back into place. If a crown falls out, you may need to pay for a brand new one, being proactive can save you a significant amount of money.

How Can I Tell A Crown Is Loose?

If a crown has been inserted properly, it should last for years, or even decades without any maintenance at all! But if the crown has not been correctly inserted, or the materials used did not last as long as expected, you will be able to tell.


Common signs that a crown is starting to fail to include:


  • The crown appears to wiggle, even though it may not fall out.
  • Food gets stuck often under the crown.
  • Sudden tooth sensitivity in the tooth that has the crown.
  • Pain or discomfort in the crowned-tooth
  • Noticeable crack in the crown. 

Reasons Why Your Crown Is Loose

There are quite a few reasons why your crown could be loose, while some of the reasons may be out of your control, most of these situations can be prevented.

Your Crown Is Ageing

Even crowns that have been properly inserted and cemented into place may break down eventually. Most crowns tend to last up to 15 years even with maintenance and good lifestyle choices. If you do notice the crown starting to show signs of ageing and breaking down, making an appointment to fix it is recommended. The dentist will also be checking on it during your regular appointments. If you switch dental clinics, you should ask for your records to be released so your new dentist will be aware of any work you have done.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding can cause many issues to your teeth depending on the severity of the affliction. Many people may not even be aware that they have an issue with grinding their teeth. Bruxism can happen during the night or during periods of stress. If the dentist sees signs of teeth grinding they may even as you to wear a custom mouthguard so you don’t have to worry about nighttime trauma.

Gum Disease & Tooth Decay

Gum disease causes the gums to be inflamed, or they may show signs of recession. If you do have gum disease after the crown is inserted, it can cause the crown to age prematurely. There are some of the original teeth under the crown as well, so if you do not have proper oral care, they can decay which will create more room for the crown. Having a crown does not mean you can use it as an excuse to not do proper oral care.

Poorly Fitted Crown

The crown may not have been fitted properly. This means it could show ageing symptoms sooner than expected. It may even fall out unexpectedly, and swallowing a crown can occur.

Poor Food Choices

If you have a crown, you should stay away from sticky foods, or hard candies. These foods can dislodge a crown, causing it to become loose. If you do happen to eat these foods, try to remember to chew them with teeth that do not have a crown inserted. 

Can The Dentist Repair A Loose Crown?

Both metal and gold crowns can usually be repaired fairly easily as the material can be shaped back into place if it is bent, porcelain is significantly more rigid then metal crowns and it may not be able to be repaired. If the problem is just with the cement, then the dentist can re-apply the cement, and re-insert the crown to make sure it is firmly fitted back into place.

If you have tooth decay under the crown, or gum disease, the dentist will repair the cavity, and they will advise you on the best way to treat the gum disease, if it is reversible at home.

Is A Loose Crown An Emergency?

A crown that is loose, or has fallen out, may be considered an emergency, however, not all loose crowns are an emergency. If the crown is only slightly loose, but still feels secure, you can get it fixed at your next appointment. You will want to be very careful not to out too much pressure on it in the meantime though as you may cause it to break loose.

If your crown is loose, there are a few things you will want to do before you are able to get it fitted.

Over-The-Counter (OTC) Dental Cement

If you notice the crown is on the verge of falling out, you will want to do your best to prevent that. Dental cement can act as a temporary solution until you get it fixed at a clinic. 

Don’t Touch Or Chew With The Crown

If the crown feels like it is loose enough to fall out, do not touch it, or use it to chew with. You should also refrain from spitting, or using a straw, as the excess pressure may cause it to loosen even further.

OTC Pain Medication

If the crown is causing you pain or discomfort, it would a good idea to take some form of medication for pain management. Taking ibuprofen (Advil) can also help reduce swelling and inflammation which can help the crown stay fitted better.

Don’t Eat Crunch Or Sticky Foods

These foods can easily cause a loose crown to loosen even more, or may even cause it to pop out entirely. Until the crown gets repaired, you will want to stay away from these foods as much as possible. Stick to softer foods like yogurt and soups.

What Happens If A Crown Falls Out?

If you can locate the crown, keep it to see if it can be cleaned and re-inserted back into your mouth. If the crown has fallen out, get a dentist appointment as soon as you can to repair it. 
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