By: Dr. Lahiru Chandraweera

January 01, 2024

When to Consider Dental Crown Replacement: Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

If you’ve invested in a dental crown, you’re likely aware of the benefits it brings to your oral health. However, it’s crucial to understand that dental crowns don’t have a lifetime guarantee. Like many dental restorations, they require proper care and, sometimes, a dental crown replacement. Early identification of signs indicating the need for dental crown replacement can help prevent future dental complications.

This blog aims to guide you through the various indicators—from physical signs to sensory cues—that suggest your crown may need replacement. So, if you’re keen on maintaining your dental health, this blog post is something you won’t want to miss.

Hills Family Dental Centre

Summary of the Content

  • Dental crowns are a common dental procedure used to restore compromised teeth. However, they have a finite lifespan influenced by the type of material used, craftsmanship, and care routine.
  • Some signs to watch out for with dental crowns include discomfort, visible damage, and a loose fit. These signs indicate the need for prompt consultation regarding a potential dental crown replacement.
  • Sensitivity around the crown or bleeding gums may indicate underlying issues, emphasising the need for proactive dental crown care.
  • Visible cracks on the crown, discolouration, and gum recession around the crowns are important indicators of potential oral health issues.
  • Struggles with chewing and wobbly crowns are red flags, signalling that your dental crown may need to be replaced.
  • If an unpleasant odour or taste is coming from the crown, it may indicate tooth decay or infection, which requires prompt attention.
  • Aesthetic concerns, such as discolouration or loss of tooth-like appearance, can also be valid reasons for considering a dental crown replacement.

Why Dental Crowns Aren't Forever

Let’s face it. Dental crowns are not eternal fixtures in your mouth. While they are designed to be long-lasting, their lifespan is influenced by several factors.

  • Lifespan Limitations:
    Dental crowns can last for many years, but they are not designed to last a lifetime. The type of material used, be it metal or other materials, significantly impacts the dental crown lifespan.
  • Wear and Tear:
    As the years pass, your dental crown will get worn out due to constant pressure from biting and chewing. This will eventually lead to the need for a crown replacement.
  • Craftsmanship Matters:
    The longevity of a crown is also affected by the skills of the dental technician and the equipment used in the dental laboratory during its fabrication.

While dental crowns serve as an effective restoration for compromised natural teeth, their limited lifespan means you’ll likely consider dental crown replacement eventually.

Signs You Can't Afford to Miss

Being aware of the condition of your dental crown is vital for maintaining optimal oral health.

  • Pain or Discomfort:
    If you feel discomfort around the crown area, it’s a significant indicator that something may be wrong.
  • Visual Checks:
    Consistent inspections of your crowns for any signs of damage are crucial. Even minor wear should prompt you to take action.
  • Loose Fit:
    A crown that feels loose is a clear warning sign that you may need a dental crown replacement soon.
  • Material Matters:
    Different materials used for dental crowns have differing advantages and disadvantages. Being aware of these features can guide you in what to watch out for.

Failing to heed these signs can worsen not only dental crown damage but also tooth damage, so it is important to seek advice from your dentist.

Sensitivity and What Your Dental Crown is Trying to Tell You

Experiencing sensitivity around your dental crown is a matter that warrants immediate attention. This could be a sign that your dental crown needs a closer look.

  • Why Sensitivity Occurs:
    The sensitivity or tooth pain you’re feeling might be connected to a previous root canal therapy or other restorative treatment.
  • Types of Discomfort:
    Sensations can range from mild discomfort to more acute pain. Each type of discomfort could indicate different issues related to your dental crown.
  • Gum Sensitivity:
    Sometimes, the issue may not be with the crown but with the surrounding gum tissues. If you are experiencing sensitivity or discomfort in your gums, it may be a sign that you need to reevaluate your dental crown care routine.

Any form of discomfort or sensitivity is an indicator that you need to have your dental crown checked. Consult your dentist to discuss the lifespan of the dental crown and whether a replacement is warranted.

Why Visible Damage Demands Immediate Action

Visible cracks or chips in your dental crown are not merely cosmetic concerns; they’re urgent calls for action that require immediate attention.

  • Identifying Damage:
    Consistently check your dental crowns for any signs of damage. Even minor damage can escalate quickly, potentially compromising the integrity of the crown and surrounding teeth.
  • Material Matters:
    The type of crown material used, whether it’s all-metal (gold), porcelain, or other materials, can influence how susceptible it is to cracks. Some materials are more durable than others, affecting the dental crown lifespan.
  • Temporary Measures:
    If you notice a crack, consult your dentist without delay. Temporarily removing the crown may be necessary as an interim step for preparing for a longer-lasting dental crown replacement.
  • Immediate Action:
    Don’t wait for it to worsen. If you spot a crack or chip, make an emergency visit to your dentist to discuss dental crown replacement options.

Visible damage on your dental crown is a clear warning sign that immediate consultation with your dentist is necessary to maintain optimal oral health.

The Hidden Meaning Behind Crown Discolouration

Dental crown discolouration can have various causes and implications, some of which may be related to underlying dental health issues or the materials used in the crown. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Material of the Crown:
    Different materials used for dental crowns can affect how they discolour over time. Porcelain crowns, for example, are more resistant to staining compared to composite resin crowns. Metal crowns, like gold or metal alloys, do not discolour but might be visible through thinner porcelain in porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.
  • Oral Hygiene and Habits:
    Poor oral hygiene practices can lead to plaque buildup, which might cause staining on the edges of the crown. Additionally, habits like smoking or consuming foods and drinks that stain (like coffee, tea, or red wine) can contribute to discolouration.
  • Age of the Crown:
    Over time, crowns can wear down, or the cement used to bond them can wash out, leading to discolouration at the edges. This is often seen as a dark line along the gumline.
  • Reactions to Materials:
    In rare cases, an individual’s reaction to the materials in the crown can cause discoloured teeth. This is more common with certain types of metal alloys used in crowns.
  • Chemical Reactions:
    Certain chemicals, like fluoride in high concentrations, can cause superficial staining on the surface of the crowns.

If you notice discolouration in a dental crown, it’s important to consult with a dentist. They can determine the cause of the discolouration and suggest appropriate solutions, which might include professional cleaning, replacing the crown, or addressing any underlying dental issues.

What Gum Recession Means for Your Crown

Gum recession is not just a cosmetic issue; it can seriously affect your dental crown lifespan and overall oral health.

  • Exposure of Crown Margins:
    The crown is typically placed over a prepared tooth, with its margins sitting at or just below the gum line. If the gums recede, these margins can become exposed. This not only affects the appearance of the crown but can also lead to sensitivity or discomfort.
  • Risk of Decay:
    When the margin of the crown is exposed due to gum recession, it can create a small space between the crown and the tooth. This space can become a trap for plaque and bacteria, increasing the risk of decay in the underlying tooth structure.
  • Aesthetic Concerns:
    A receding gum line can lead to an unsightly appearance, particularly if the crown is on a front tooth. The exposed tooth root or crown margin can be visible when you smile or talk, which might be a cosmetic concern.
  • Potential for Sensitivity:
    Exposed tooth roots, which can occur with gum recession, are often more sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks. If the crown’s margin is near the receding area, it might increase tooth sensitivity.

It’s important to consult with your dentist for advice and treatment options, especially if you’re experiencing gum recession or any discomfort with an existing dental crown.

Why Eating Shouldn't Be a Struggle

Eating is a fundamental activity that should ideally be enjoyable and free from discomfort. However, various dental issues can transform this basic necessity into a painful struggle. A deteriorating dental crown is a prime example of such a problem that can significantly impact one’s ability to eat comfortably.

When a crown begins to deteriorate, several issues can arise that make eating a challenge:

  1. Pain and Sensitivity:
    A deteriorating crown can expose the underlying tooth to temperature extremes, leading to discomfort or sharp pain when consuming hot or cold foods and beverages. This sensitivity can severely limit the types of food one can comfortably eat.
  2. Difficulty Chewing:
    If a crown is not properly fitted or begins to break down, it can affect your bite. This misalignment can make it difficult to chew food effectively, which can lead to avoiding certain foods that require more effort to eat, such as meats or raw vegetables.
  3. Risk of Further Damage:
    A compromised crown can weaken the structural integrity of the tooth it covers, making it more susceptible to cracks and decay. Chewing with a deteriorating crown can increase the risk of further damage, not only to the crowned tooth but also to surrounding teeth and gums.
  4. Infection Risk:
    Gaps or cracks in a deteriorating crown can become breeding grounds for bacteria, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. If food particles get trapped, they can cause infection and inflammation, making eating not only difficult but also potentially harmful to your oral health.
  5. Psychological Impact:
    Struggling to eat due to a deteriorating crown can lead to frustration, anxiety, and self-consciousness during meals. This can affect one’s social life and overall well-being, as eating becomes a source of stress rather than pleasure.

Addressing a deteriorating crown promptly is crucial to prevent these issues from escalating. A visit to the dentist for assessment and repair or replacement can help restore the functionality and appearance of the tooth, making eating a comfortable and enjoyable activity once again. Modern dental treatments can provide durable and aesthetically pleasing restorations to improve dental health and enhance quality of life.

Why a Loose Crown is a Silent Alarm

A wobbly dental crown is like a silent alarm that urgently needs your attention, signalling potential issues with your oral health.

  • Temporary vs Permanent:
    Whether you have temporary crowns or permanent ones, a loose fit is a warning sign for dental crowns that should not be ignored. Both types of crowns come with their own sets of challenges and considerations.
  • Immediate Actions:
    If you notice your crown wobbling, schedule appointment visits with your dentist right away. Sometimes, even a single appointment can determine whether a replacement crown is necessary or if the existing one can be adjusted.
  • Risks:
    A loose crown can lead to other complications, such as bacterial infections or damage to adjacent teeth, making it crucial to address the issue as soon as possible.

A wobbly crown is a non-negotiable signal to consult your dentist. The sooner you act, the better the outcome is likely to be.

Unpleasant Odors and Tastes Can Serve as Warning Signs

If you’ve noticed a bad taste or odour around your dental crown, don’t dismiss it. These changes could be warning signs for dental crowns that require immediate attention and could indicate more serious underlying issues.

  • Bacterial Build-Up:
    A foul smell often indicates that bacteria or plaque-causing bacteria have found a way under or around your crown. This is not just a hygiene issue; it’s a health concern that could lead to more severe complications.
  • Tooth Decay:
    A bad taste may indicate complications related to tooth decay that have progressed and reached the pulp tissue of the tooth. In such cases, root canal treatment may be needed.
  • Immediate Action:
    Consult your dentist as soon as you notice these changes. It could be a sign that your dental crown care routine needs revisiting or that a dental crown replacement is imminent. Ignoring these signs can lead to further complications, infections, or more extensive dental work.

A bad taste or smell is not just unpleasant; it’s a call to action. Consult your dentist to discuss your dental crown lifespan and whether a dental crown replacement is necessary.

When Aesthetics Call for a Change

While functionality is undoubtedly crucial for maintaining oral health, the appearance of your dental crown shouldn’t be overlooked. Aesthetic concerns can be valid reasons for considering a dental crown replacement, especially as dental technology advances, offering more natural-looking options.

  • Cosmetic Concerns:
    Over time, your crown may lose its tooth-like appearance, affecting your beautiful, natural-looking smile. This can be particularly noticeable when the crown is in the front and centre of your smile, where it’s most visible during social interactions.
  • Discolouration:
    A once vibrant smile may fade over time due to the natural aging process or lifestyle factors like diet and smoking. If a whiter smile is desired, this could be a compelling reason to consider a dental crown replacement.
  • Personal Preferences:
    Sometimes, you may want a change purely for cosmetic reasons. Whether it’s to achieve a youthful smile, match the shade of newly whitened natural teeth, or simply refresh your appearance, aesthetic preferences are a legitimate factor in dental crown care.
  • Material Options:
    With the availability of various materials that mimic the appearance of natural teeth, you might opt for a dental crown replacement to take advantage of these newer, more aesthetically pleasing options.

If you’re unhappy with how your dental crown looks, it’s worth discussing aesthetic changes with your dentist. After all, your smile is one of the first things people notice about you, and feeling confident in your smile can have a positive impact on your overall well-being.

Final Thoughts

We have discussed a wide array of warning signs that suggest your dental crown may require replacement. Ignoring these signs could seriously compromise your overall dental health. Proactive dental care is vital; this means that regular check-ups are just as important as responding to immediate issues like discomfort or visible damage.

Remember, while dental crowns are indeed durable, they don’t last forever. Staying vigilant about their condition is a crucial aspect of dental crown care, essential for prolonging their lifespan and maintaining their oral health.

Feel free to share this valuable information with family and friends who have dental crowns. It’s a commonly overlooked aspect of dental care that deserves more attention. Being informed and proactive not only helps you understand when dental crown replacement is necessary but also makes the entire process far less daunting.

For those interested in further discussing their dental crown treatment options, we invite you to consult with us at Hills Family Dental Centre Kalamunda. Whether you’re considering various treatment options or seeking an affordable option that aligns with your needs, we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment by calling our clinic or visiting our website today. Your oral health is our priority.