How To Properly Care For Dental Crowns
Dental crowns help give anyone an award-winning smile, but like your natural teeth, it’s important to maintain them with regular oral care.
The material used in the creation of dental crowns for your teeth, makes them strong and resilient enough to last for years. However, in order to keep them white, shining and undamaged, you should follow these helpful tips.
Brush and Floss Regularly
This may seem like the most obvious advice, but it’s also the most important your crowns dentist will give you.
Brushing and flossing at least once a day is vital to keeping your crowns and your natural teeth strong, clean and white. Brush your crowns thoroughly because food and other particles might be harder to remove from them than your natural teeth.
Flossing is never more important than when you have crowns too. Your gums create the firm foundation on which your crowns sit. If there are food particles or plaque trapped in the gum line around your crowns, it could cause irritation and may even damage the crown too.
Remember to always slide floss around dental crowns. Never pull the floss directly upward since this can accidentally move the crown or cause damage to the underside of it.
While crowns do a great job at mimicking the look and strength of natural teeth, they don’t necessarily have the same longevity. Natural teeth can withstand a lot of abuse over a lifetime, but crowns only last between ten to 20 years max before needing to be replaced.
In order to get as many years out of your crowns as possible, chew your food more softly, cut up tough food into smaller pieces, and eat more slowly. In addition, practicing more thoughtful chewing methods will improve your digestion too.
Avoid Hard Foods
Hard foods such as hard candies, nuts, chips, apples and carrots are tasty, but eating them without much care could damage or dislodge your crowns.
If you want to eat hard food like apples or carrots, trying cutting them up into small pieces first or cooking them. If you can’t cut up the food item or cook it to make it softer, chew slow and carefully. Food like hard candies, however, should be avoided entirely.
Avoid Sugary and Acidic Foods and Drinks
Sugary and acidic foods are already the main enemy of your natural teeth, but they actually pose even more of a threat to your crowns.
Sugars and acids create the bacteria that allows plaque to thrive. Not only does plaque damage crowns, but if plaque builds up under the gum-line or under the crown, it could create an extremely harmful infection and lead to gum disease.
To make matters worse, it could create tooth decay in the existing tooth underneath the crown, which would cause the tooth to start rotting.
If the gums and tooth start experiencing infection and decay, it will eventually lead to the crown loosening or even dislodging.
Break Bad Oral Habits
It’s very common for people to have a few quirky chewing or eating habits that are potentially harmful to their teeth.
For example, many people regularly chew sugary gum, crunch on ice, gnaw on their pen caps, bite their nails or grind their teeth. Some people develop bad oral habits as a stress reliever, others do it out of habit and some do it purely out of boredom.
If you have crowns, kicking these habits is key in ensuring they remain undamaged.
Reduce Eating Foods and Drinks that Cause Stains
Staining isn’t much of an issue for natural teeth, especially in today’s world where there is a massive array of teeth whitening options available at very reasonable prices. You can either do it yourself with over the counter treatments or go in for professional whitening sessions with a dentist.
However, dental implants such as crowns aren’t nearly as easy to restore once they’re stained. Porcelain is very resistant to staining, but if it can get stained you’ll have to get the crown replaced if you are not happy with the colour of the tooth.
Normal whitening techniques have no effect on porcelain crowns, and there are no whitening techniques available today that whiten crowns when they’re in the mouth.
In order to avoid staining on your crowns, avoid smoking as well as drinking too much coffee, black tea, fruit juices and wine. Also, drink as much water as you can every day.
Read the following for a comprehensive list of foods that stain your teeth and foods that help remove tooth stains too.
Wear a Night Guard
If you have a habit of grinding your teeth in your sleep, you’re creating a very risky situation for your crowns.
Teeth grinding is already very damaging to natural teeth and crowns, but if you grind your teeth enough it may cause the crown to shift or pop off entirely.
Using a night guard when you sleep will create a barrier between the upper and lower rows of teeth, which will protect your natural teeth and crowns from damage and dislodging.
Reader’s note: if you are grinding your teeth at night, or your jaw really hurts, you may have a condition called Temporo Mandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) and need TMJ treatments from your dentist..
Don’t Ignore Signs that Your Crown Fits Badly
Most crowns are installed without any issues, but if your crown feels awkward or poorly positioned either because it was installed incorrectly or it moved over time, go see your dentist to get the crown fixed.
Having a badly fitting crown isn’t just uncomfortable. The change in your bite may cause pain in your jaw, difficulties chewing or talking and damage the surrounding teeth.
In addition, the poor positioning may leave the underlying tooth open to infection.
Go to the Dentist Twice a Year
The best way to monitor the health and integrity of your dental crowns is by going to the dentist twice a year for checkups.
Your dentist will thoroughly clean the crowns and surrounding teeth, and analyze them for any damage. He or she will take note of any signs of infection or changes in the positioning of the crown, and provide you with options to better care for them over time.
If you’re already one of our patients and your crowns don’t feel right, make an appointment to see us and we’ll take care of them right away.
About Dr. Pio Modi
After Dr. Modi graduated from McMaster University with an Honours B.Sc. in chemistry in 1997, he received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Toronto in 2001. He began to practice dentistry in Brantford the following year. Throughout his career he's completed hundreds of hours of continuing education programs and has studied with some of the best educators in the industry.