How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?

I had 4 Dental crowns "installed" on my lower teeth about 2 years ago and already had one of them break. I am VERY careful about the foods I eat (don't eat hard candy, chew ice, etc) and was wondering how long a Dental crown should last under normal usage.

Doctor Answers 17

Crowns can last decades!

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Hi Chipped Crown!

This is a really difficult question to answer.  There are just too many factors involved.  Many of which depend on the patient that gets the crown, let alone the crown itself.

What I can tell you is that I have seen well done, and well maintained crowns last decades. 

Its interesting to note that many insurance companies will pay for replacement crowns after 8 years.  Since these companies use their vast accumulation of data to make reasonable denials of any payment as much as they can, we can probably garner some notion on how long they last on average by insurance companies willingness to pay for replacements after 8 years.


Dr. Alper

New York Dentist

Crowns can last a lifetime

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It is rare for a crown to fail alone, but not uncommon for the patient to fail their crown.  Crowns, whether gold, porcelain on metal or all porcelain do not decay.  This does not mean that a tooth neglected of good hygiene practice will not decay.  Decay under a poorly maintained crown is the most common cause of crown failure in patients I have seen over years of dental practice.   Poor hygiene is not the only reason.  Although teeth are tools to help us to bite, chew and speak, they are not tools for holding roofing nails, biting finger nails or removing bottle caps.  Using a porcelain crown inappropriately can cause the porcelain to chip or fracture or the porcelain veneered on the metal base to break off.  Common sense is key.  So long as the crown is manufactured to the highest standards, choosing the right material and fitted to your bite properly, it will have the potential to last a lifetime.

Marc Zive, DMD
Springfield Dentist

Crown lifespan can vary

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Determining how long crowns last is hard to determine. Factors of longevity include:

• Material (full gold vs. porcelain fused to metal core, porcelain fused to non metal core and all-porcelain)
• Location (back tooth, front tooth)

• How much tooth remained when prepared for a crown (was there much there? Was it a heroic effort on the dentist to even try to save the tooth?)

• Bite forces (grinder and clencher, no habits)

• Hygiene practices (some people REFUSE to brush their teeth!).

Most insurance companies will pay every 5 years on a crown, meaning they aren't surprised if the crown should be redone. Most crowns average more along the lines of 10-15 years, and many people have crowns in their mouths for more than 25-30 years. Mileage DOES vary.

2 years is a little short. Often, replacement at this point can be done at a reduced fee, similar to getting tires replaced before the 50,000 mile warrantee is used up. If 25,000 miles were driven, tire companies often will only charge half of their fee.

A long time...

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Crowns should last a long time. As you know proper checkups and dental hygiene are very important. That being said, 80% of crown/dental restoration failures can be attributed to bire issues, meaning that you may be a grinder or clencher.  These added forces to the best dental crowns, will cause them to break.  Are your teeth worn down, does your jaw click or pop on opening or closing?, Headaches?, Neck Pain? Theses can all be symptoms of a bite imbalance.

Andrew E. Rudnick, DMD
West Palm Beach Dentist

Longevity of Crowns

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I have seen crowns lasting as long as fifty years and some fail within a few years.  Both cases are rare but could happen pending many circumstances: 

  • Grinding - Stability of Bite
  • Periodontal (gum) health
  • Oral Hygiene care
  • Missing teeth : the fewer the better
  • Condition of the tooth under the crown : the more tooth structure the better
  • Condition of your adjacent teeth : the healthier the better
  • Systemic Health : Such conditions as diabetes in the long run can create gum issues which will weaken your overall dental health.
  • Dry Mouth / Medication:  Certain medication or even radiation treatment will create a dry mouth which in turn will increase cavities

Having a crown break within two years is unpleasant and uncommon but there could be many possible reasons.  I am sure your dentist will try and find out why this occurred  so it does not reoccur. 

Dan Haas, DDS
Toronto Dentist

How long crowns last

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There is no one correct answer to this question because of multiple factors that can affect the lastability of a crown.  Factors include but are not limited to a person's bite, whether there is gum disease present, amount of saliva flow, whether the patient has a high cavity rate, how good the patient's oral hygiene is, etc.  Be that as it may, as a general rule I advise patients to think of full crowns as strong restorations on the outside of their teeth as opposed to fillings that are placed inside their teeth. I would expect on average for them to last 5- 10 years under normal wear and care, but I have many patients who have had crowns for 25 years or more.

Daniel Melnick, DDS
Laurel Dentist

Factors towards Crown Longevity

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Under ideal circumstances Dental Crowns can last for many many years up to a lifetime! When you consider that most Dental Insurance companies are willing to pay for a crown Replacement after 5 Years that tells you that there are many factors that determine Crown Longevity. If the Patient has Clenching or Bruxism habits or perhaps TMJ Dysfunction this can cause premature wear and chipping and thus loss of usefullness of the Crown. Does the patient in question have excellent home care and adhere to a sound schedule or Recare? There is no question that poor hygiene and poor maintenance habits can lead to recurrent decay under the crown and cause need for its premature replacement. There are also Technical issues that can allow for a crown to last for many years or for just a few years. Where the right materials selected based on the circumstances and specific needs of the patient? Did the dentist use accurate impressions and send the case to a competent lab Technician? Was the Crown inserted under dry conditions with well mixed and dispensed cements? You can see that there are indeed many factors that will ultimately determine how long your Dental Crowns will last! The average lifespan from what I am familiar with is 7 to 15 years. Good Luck! 

Howard Perlmutter, DMD
Paramus Dentist

The life of a crown...

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Most often these fractures happen due to night time grinding and clenching.  We ALL do it.  Some more than others.  When we eat we typically put 80-90 pounds per square inch of pressure on our teeth.  Amazingly, people have been recorded at 3000 pounds per square inch in their sleep.  I guess your brain just isn't there to tell you to stop!  

Typically if you break a tooth or restoration while eating, it was already fractured and just waiting to pop.  That's unless you are eating rocks or jawbreakers, etc. 

That said, I usually replace anything I did that breaks in only a few years, just because it feels pretty crummy to have something I did fail.  I would, though, insist on you getting a night guard and using it.  Then, if fractures continue, if you're honestly not wearing the guard - it's your problem!  Hope that makes sense.

John Whittemore, DDS
Memphis Dentist

How long do crowns last

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depends on the material, skill of dentist, and habbits of the patient.

all porcelain crowns are a little weaker than zirconia base or metal based crowns.

If you broke your crown after two years, consider wearing a night guard and having your bite evaluated.

A long time!

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Crowns are by far one of the more predictable and durable procedures a dentist can provide.

Assuming you have an experienced dentist choosing the correct type of material for that specific tooth in that specific area of your mouth and the crown treatment is rendered to ideal standards, your crown will last a long time! In our office we warranty crowns for 5 years because we expect them to last anywhere between 15-20 years. However,  these are the three most common factors affect a crown's success (or ultimate failure):

1. Care. Brushing and flossing! You simply treat like any other tooth, avoid sticky sugary foods and using you teeth as tools!

2. Bite. The forces of chewing should be balanced carefully no only on seating a new crown but also from time to time at regular intervals. Any premature contacts or heavy chewing forces can risk injury to the crown or the underlying tooth. This is especially common with teeth grinders or clenchers

3. Esthetics: If in time a crown shows signs of age, or if the gums recede and show a margin, we consider that a failure of a crown too, especially in the front smile area.  

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.