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Why do crowns fail?

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Fail? Crowns that I do never fail!

Well almost never.

Few things frustrate me more than a nicely fitting and matching crown failing and requiring replacement. Now if this happens after ten or more years, I am not too annoyed. It's when it happens in the first few years that I cringe when this occurs.

So why would a crown fail?

The single biggest reason for crowns failing is, well the crown itself doesn't fail, the tooth holding it does. As you may know, a crown simply covers what remains of a tooth that has been significantly damaged by decay or breaking. It does not replace a tooth but endeavors to protect and extend the life of a fragile tooth.

What often happens is that decay finds its way around the edges of the crown and works its way up under the crown. When this happens, there is nothing to do but remove the crown and repair the tooth, if possible, and then replace the crown.

While you cannot avoid this problem completely, you can minimize the chance of it occurring. Meticulous hygiene must be performed around a crown. That means you must be really good about brushing and flossing. Perhaps even using a fluoride rinse.

The next most common way crowns fail is the fracturing of the porcelain that most crowns are made of. To make a crown match, teeth labs use porcelain. They bake it to make it strong and beautiful. However, porcelain is not the strongest material and needs to have a fair thickness to be strong enough to work long term in the mouth.

Even with the right thickness, porcelain is porcelain. It is subject to wear and breakage. If enough porcelain comes off the crown to make the shape of the remaining crown too poor to function appropriately, then the crown must be removed and replaced.

If you want to avoid this ever occurring, have your crown made of gold. Forty years from now, you'll thank me when it is still functioning the way a crown is meant to. I know, you don't want gold twinkling from your mouth when you smile. Besides, at today's gold prices, you might get mugged for it.
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