Whether it's installed to protect a structurally weak tooth, cover up a dental implant or hold in place a dental bridge, dental crowns are in the mouths of millions of people all around the world. Often referred to as "caps," dental crowns are described as such because they rest atop an already existing tooth and affixed firmly so that they can't be knocked loose or fall out.
If you have a cap, you may know all that. What you may not know is if — or when — a dental crown needs to be replaced. This article will give you a better understanding of what symptoms, manifestations and circumstances suggest your existing crown needs to be restored or replaced.
1. Reason No. 1: Damage
Caps are made of several different materials that are naturally resistant to deterioration, such as gold, ceramic or porcelain that's fused to metal, which is also known as PFM. While all of these materials are quite durable, they're not indestructible. Thus, it's possible that if you bite down on something hard, are struck in the jaw or grind your teeth, your dental crown may crack. The longer that you've had a cap in place, the less resistant it is to damage.
2. Reason No. 2: Age
Dental crowns are built to last. You can lengthen the life of your cap — as well as all your other teeth — by brushing and flossing at least twice a day and consuming foods that are low in sugar and have a high water content, such as leafy greens, berries and melons. But just as caps are not unbreakable, they're not ageless, either. Generally speaking, they have a lifespan of between 10 to 15 years, depending on various lifestyle factors. If it's been that long since you had your cap installed, it may be time to have it removed and replaced. Your dentist will be able to determine when the time is right during your biannual cleanings.
3. Reason No. 3: Pain
Another potential reason why you may need to have your cap repaired, restored or replaced is if you're experiencing ongoing pain. Dental discomfort can be caused by any number of factors, such as an infection, gum inflammation, decay, injury or bruxism, which is the fancy term for teeth grinding. Pain is the body's way of telling you something is wrong so if you're experiencing twinges of discomfort when you chew or the pain is steady, that may be an indication the cap ought to be replaced. This is something you should be sure to bring up to your dentist during your checkups, but if the pain is unbearable, contact your oral care professional immediately.
4. Reason No. 4: Receding gum line
Regular brushing and flossing is critical for so many reasons, like keeping your smile looking naturally white and because it's just a smart thing to do for your overall wellness, not just your oral health. But chief among the reasons it's wise is it reduces bacterial buildup, which forms around the teeth whenever you eat, creating plaque. If plaque isn't effectively removed, it can cause the gum line to recede, which may ultimately result in periodontal disease. Much like dental pain, a receding gum line can be caused by any number of reasons. Your dentist will be able to determine if replacing your cap is appropriate based on the condition of your gums.
If any of these conditions sound familiar, contact City Dentists to schedule an appointment. We're the Wellington dentist specialists that make smiles wider and brighter.