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When Should Your Dental Crown Be Replaced?

At Knoxville Smiles, K. Malone and Dr. Michael J. Costa, Jr. meticulously and beautifully restore teeth that need a full covering with dental crowns. Their crowns are designed to not only preserve teeth and look like natural, healthy dental enamel; they also are designed to function harmoniously with other teeth and predictably last.

Did you know that a dental crown may last the rest of your life? If you have consistently good oral hygiene, regular professional dental cleanings, regular dental checkups, and promptly accept any recommended treatment for problems that develop in your mouth, a quality crown can be maintained indefinitely. Despite this wonderful possibility, over time, you and your dentist will be looking for signs that a crown needs or may need replacement.

Signs a Crown Needs or May Need Replacement

  • Gum tissue is receding, and a dark margin is appearing along the gum line around the crown.
  • Excessive occlusal wear has occurred on the crown.
  • The crown has become cracked.
  • Dental decay has occurred under the crown.
  • Gum tissue has become infected at the base of a crown.
  • The crown has become loose or come off the tooth.

Gum Recession and Decay

Because dental plaque has a tendency to collect around the base of crowns faster than around unrestored healthy teeth, you may need more frequent professional dental cleanings to keep damaging bacteria at bay. Even though plaque will not erode porcelain, the acid produced by bacteria in the plaque may erode tooth roots under the gum line. If this erosive decay reaches the pulp of the tooth, you may experience pain ranging from intermittent mild pain to acute chronic pain. If a tooth has had a root canal prior to being crowned, you will not feel nerve pain but could still have dental decay under the crown that weakens the tooth and loosens the crown. In this case, regular dental x-rays and visual examination of the base of your crowns will provide information your dentist needs to assess the health of your crowned teeth.

Excessive Wear

If your upper and lower teeth are mal-opposed, i.e., they don’t fit together properly, you may have excessive wear occur on the occlusal surfaces as a result of normal chewing and nighttime bruxism (teeth grinding). People with malocclusion and/or bruxism commonly experience early crown wear, fracture, or loosening. Patients sometimes observe jaw muscle tenderness developing as changes occur in how their teeth come together.

If you are going to the dentist to have your teeth cleaned and for checkups on a regular basis, it’s likely that excessive wear and tear on a crown will be noticed by your dentist before a painful problem develops. If you notice a crowned tooth becoming intermittently or chronically painful, fractured, or loose, it’s urgent that you make an appointment with us as soon as possible.

Note: In addition to treating your crown damage, our dentists have the expertise to correct your bite so crowns are not unduly impacted by excessive occlusal forces in the future.

Do You Have Concern about Your Dental Crowns?

A crown may be replaced for cosmetic reasons and to preserve the health of the tooth. If you are concerned about an existing dental crown, Dr. Malone or Dr. Costa, will be happy to examine you and provide the guidance you need. If you have a dental crown that breaks or a crowned tooth that becomes painful, call us to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.