Dental crowns, depending on the material they are constructed from, can last from approximately 7 to 40 years. In rare cases, however, dental crowns can break much sooner than this. If you have a crown that breaks before the five-year mark, it is likely that you will have trouble getting your insurance company to cover the cost of a replacement crown. Therefore, it is in your best interest to do all you can to keep your dental crowns in good shape for as long as possible. 

Regardless of the material used—porcelain, gold, zirconia, or another material—you should follow these measures to ensure that your crowns stay in good condition. 

Practice Good Oral Hygiene to Prevent Decay

Good oral hygiene protects not only your natural teeth but also your crowns. While crowns themselves cannot decay, bacteria can leak into the area underneath the crown and cause the tooth to decay. When this happens, it's only a matter of time before the crown breaks or dislodges. According to recent research, only a third of Australians brush their teeth twice a day. If you want to keep bacteria from building up on and between your teeth, you need to brush—and floss—twice a day. 

All it takes for your tooth to begin decaying under the crown is for some food to become stuck between your teeth for a prolonged period. Bacteria will break down this food, leaving enamel-eroding acid in their wake. 

Refrain from Using Your Crowns as Tools

This goes for natural teeth too. Holding nails as you do some DIY work around the house or ripping open packets with teeth will eventually cause your crown to fracture. A chipped crown will deteriorate over time if nothing is done to repair it.  

Limit the Force Exerted on Your Crown

When eating, try to spread the pressure over several teeth. Never bite down on something hard like ice or popcorn using just your crown, as this will damage the crown. If the teeth on either side of your crown are healthy and strong, they act to share the force you exert when chewing food, so try to keep them as healthy as you can. 

Identify and Stop Habits

You are probably aware of any chewing or biting habits you might have, such as nail biting or pencil chewing. Try to monitor yourself and put a stop to these habits. For anterior crowns (incisors and canines at the front), this is especially important, as these are the teeth generally used for such habits. 

If you think you may suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding), invest in a night guard and wear it each night to protect your crowns. 

Contact your dentist for a checkup if you suspect that your tooth may be rotting beneath a crown or if you think the crown may be compromised. Once the dentist evaluates your crown, they can then advise you on the most appropriate course of action.