Very few people go through their lifetimes without having some kind of remedial work to their dentistry. If their teeth had worn down considerably or they needed some kind of replacement, then it's likely that they had a dental crown fitted. How long are these additions expected to last?
Things to Consider
While the type of material used to place a crown these days is very sophisticated, the solution used a generation or so ago may now be starting to show signs of wear. Of course, a lot will have depended on your oral hygiene over the decades, the position of the crown and whether or not you grind your teeth.
Typically speaking, your dentist will expect to see one of two different types of crown in your mouth. The first is known as "fused to metal" and the other one is "all-ceramic." The procedure to repair or replace will depend on exactly what type of crown is in question.
All-ceramic crowns do not stand up very well to damage and any fracture is likely to completely compromise the tooth. It may have lost its integrity and need to be fully restored as a consequence. This is why dentists today typically do not consider all-ceramic in certain areas of the mouth like the back teeth, where there is tremendous force applied when chewing.
The Better Solution
The alternative "fused to metal" is rather different. Two separate components are included here, with a very thin metal jacket covering the tooth, which is fitted to a layer of porcelain above. Consequently, the tooth looks very natural but any damage here is typically confined to the outer layer of porcelain, rather than the underside. This allows a dentist to repair the porcelain and it's a far easier and less invasive task.
Root Canal Procedures
Sometimes it becomes necessary to conduct a root canal in an area where a crown has previously been fitted. If this is the case, the dentist will see if it is possible to remove the crown first before proceeding. If not, then typically they will make a perforation into the crown so that they can access the root canal area below. Just bear in mind, that a conventional filling cannot be applied to this perforation and the longer term structure of the crown may then be compromised.
It is always best to consider the teeth that are directly opposite the worksite when any crowns are fitted. This is because a crown can be denser and more abrasive than the natural teeth that it will then come into contact with. Always ask the dentist about the potential outcome and whether any work needs to be done on the other teeth at the time. Furthermore, if you have a tendency to grind your teeth when you sleep, then you should definitely ask the dentist about getting a mouthguard to try and alleviate this problem. Otherwise, you may cause damage to a newly fitted crown which will result in additional work.
Assessing Your Needs
Schedule a visit to the dentist so that they can look at your precise requirements and advise you with a course of action.