How to Care for Dental Crowns: A Guide to Maximising Their Lifespan

cropped 20211105 piara ro1 5941 scaled 1.jpg By Dr. Ram Nair

How to Care for Dental Crowns: A Guide to Maximising Their Lifespan

Dental crowns are caps that can cover an entire tooth that’s discoloured, broken, chipped, or damaged. They are stronger than fillings and can restore the functionality and appearance of your teeth. However, like any other dental work, it is important to care for your crowns properly to make them last.

This article will discuss the benefits of this dental procedure, how to take care of dental crowns, and the signs of failing crowns so that you will know when to visit your dentist immediately.

What Is a Dental Crown for?

A dental crown has many purposes and benefits. These include:

  • Covering discoloured teeth
    If you have severely stained teeth, a crown can cover them up and restore your smile.

  • Protecting a compromised tooth from further damage
    If you have a cracked, chipped, or broken tooth, crowns can protect the damaged area from further harm.

  • Strengthening weak teeth
    A crown can add strength and stability if a tooth is weakened due to extensive decay.

  • Replacing missing teeth in addition to dental implants
    Crowns can be used with dental implants to create a strong and natural-looking replacement for missing teeth.

  • Covering and protecting a tooth that has undergone root canal treatment
    A tooth with a root canal can become brittle and weak, so a crown can help protect it from further damage.

  • Holding a dental bridge in place
    A dental bridge replaces missing teeth, and a crown on either side of the gap can help hold it in place.

  • Replacing large fillings
    If a large filling is needed to repair a tooth, a crown can be used in place of the filling for extra protection.

  • To help support teeth with uneven surfaces or cracks
    A crown can help even the surfaces and ensure the tooth is well-supported.

How Is a Dental Crown Placed?

Here is a step-by-step guide to what to expect during a dental crown procedure

  • On your first appointment, your dentist will take x-rays and impressions of your teeth to check the extent of damage, assess the health of your gums, and determine if a crown is necessary.

  • If you are, you will be given local anaesthesia before any procedures to numb the area.
    Your dentist will then reshape your tooth surface to make space for the crown, so it fits properly and snugly. This means that they will remove some of your tooth structure.

  • Once the reshaping is done, an impression of your newly shaped teeth will be taken to make a model for the crown. Your dentist may also apply a temporary crown while you wait for the final one to be fabricated at a lab. The temporary crown will help protect your tooth and gums until your final one arrives.

  • On your second appointment, usually after 2 to 3 weeks, the final crown will be placed on top of your prepared tooth using dental cement. The colour and shape can be adjusted to match your other teeth. Your dentist will provide instructions on how to care for dental crowns before you leave their clinic.

Note that this entire process applies to traditional dental crowns. A same-day crown is an alternative option that can be made and placed in one appointment.

What Should I Not Do After Having a Dental Crown?

After getting your dental crowns, there are steps you should avoid to prevent your crowns from damage. Here are tips on how to care for dental crowns:

  • Avoid chewing hard, chewy, and sticky food
    While your dental crown is very durable, it can still be damaged by the foods you consume. As a rule, you should not bite anything hard with your crowns. These can chip or crack your dental work.

  • Do not use your teeth as tools
    One way to take care of dental crowns is to avoid using your teeth to open packages, bite fingernails, or perform other tasks that could damage the crowns.

  • Do not clench or grind your teeth at night
    This may be a bad habit that can be difficult to avoid. Clenching or grinding your teeth can cause the crowns to crack and weaken. You may talk to your dentist about getting a custom mouthguard if you have problems with clenching or grinding.

  • Avoid smoking
    While the materials used in dental crowns are strong and durable, smoking can stain the crowns. In addition, it can also cause gum disease and other dental issues.

How Do You Maintain a Dental Crown?

Maintaining a dental crown to extend its lifespan doesn’t need special care. You can care for dental crowns like you would look after your natural teeth. Here are some tips:

  • Visit your dentist twice a year for professional cleanings and check-ups
    Regular visits to the dentist will help detect any problems with the crowns before it’s too late. Your dentist can also recommend preventive treatments that protect your crowns from damage or wear and tear.

  • Eat a balanced diet
    Eating nutrient-rich food is essential for keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Some ideal foods include fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and dairy products.

  • Maintain good oral hygiene
    Brushing twice daily and flossing your teeth once a day is essential to remove plaque to avoid gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral health issues. Use a non-abrasive toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush when cleaning your crowns and natural teeth. It is also essential to keep your dental crowns clean and debris-free. Remember to pay attention to hard-to-reach areas around the crowns.
dental checkup

Can a Tooth Rot Under a Crown?

Unfortunately, teeth with crowns can still rot due to poor oral hygiene practices. Tartar, plaque, and bacteria can still accumulate on your teeth and gums that can’t be reached by brushing alone. So, you must visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and check-ups. They can also spot potential problems before they become major issues.

Will My Gums Pull Away from My Tooth With a Crown?

This condition, called gum recession, can occur even with dental crowns. Gum recession can be caused by several factors, such as gum disease, smoking, or overly aggressive brushing or flossing. If left unmanaged, your gums can slowly recede from the teeth and cause the exposed root surfaces to become sensitive. Regular visits to the dentist are important for detecting any signs of gum recession in its early stages before it becomes more serious.

What Are the Signs of a Failing Crown?

There are warning signs of a failing crown you should be aware of so that you can take action immediately. These include:

  • Pain when chewing
  • Increased sensitivity to hot or cold food
  • Visible cracks in the crown
  • An excessive amount of plaque or tartar buildup near the crown
  • Loose crown
  • Receding gum line

How Often Should I Have My Dental Crown Checked?

A part of maintaining a dental crown is a regular check-up by your dentist. Generally, you should make two dental appointments each year to check your crown for its longevity and proper function. Your dentist may also recommend preventive treatments such as fluoride sealants which can help protect the crown from decay and other damage.

Final Thoughts

Dental crowns are a great choice for restoring and protecting your teeth. They can last for many years, but you should know the measures on how to take care of dental crowns so they can last as long as possible. Consider the tips above and always visit your dentist for regular check-ups and professional cleanings as part of your maintenance.

Book an initial consultation with Piara Waters Dental now if you are considering this dental treatment.

We are a state-of-the-art dental clinic that provides quality dental care services to patients. We have a team of dental professionals with years of experience performing this procedure. Your dentist will assess your oral health condition and determine if you are a good candidate. If you are, they will create a personalised treatment plan that caters to your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can eat 30 to 45 minutes after getting a dental crown. However, avoid chewing on the crown area for the first few days, as it could cause damage or irritation to your gum tissue. You should also avoid sticky or hard foods in the succeeding days. You may eat to your comfort level but be gentle on the crown area.

In many cases, it’s better to put a crown than have it pulled out. This can prevent the complications that occur with a missing tooth and costly future dental procedures. However, extraction may be better if the decayed tooth can no longer be saved through other dental treatments.

It is not required to have a root canal procedure before getting a crown. However, it will depend on the condition of your tooth. Sometimes a root canal is needed before the crown placement if the tooth is badly decayed or infected. Your dentist will help you decide the most suitable option for your particular situation.

While maintaining a dental crown helps extend its lifespan, those made with metal alloys, such as gold crowns, are the most durable. All-porcelain crowns can also last long with proper care. However, a few patients can develop allergic reactions from metals, so ask your dentist for another crown type if you need one.

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