Our office is often asked if it is advisable to replace 30-year-old dental crowns after the age of 60 in order to avoid more serious problems or replacements in later years. Gold crowns do not need to be replaced simply because they are decades old and we do not prophylactically replace them because of age. If there are no problems now, we suggest leaving them alone.
A crown, which resembles a thimble that covers a tooth, needs to be well fitted, with no open margins nor decay around the margins. Gold doesn't corrode, but after three decades the cement holding the crown in place is susceptible to dissolution by saliva. In addition, fluids in the mouth can seep into gaps, resulting in decay. If the 30-year-old crown is made of porcelain fused to metal and the porcelain chips, it's still not always necessary to replace it. In some cases, we can basically smooth it off and it will still function.
We understand that replacing a crown is not just a matter of cost. Every time a dentist places a crown or filling in a patient's mouth, some damage is done to the tooth's pulp. This means that some teeth that were crowned may eventually require a root canal. Restorations also take away tooth structure, increasing the risk of fracture. We consider all these aspects before we recommend replacing a crown. Even so, if a crown needs to be replaced because of decay or bad contours, the additional loss of tooth structure by the drilling is negligible and inconsequential, versus no treatment.
If you are currently experiencing an illfitting corwn, you should contact our office so that we can assist you.