We are lucky to be in a day and age where dental technologies like a dental crown are readily available to us. A dental crown is an all-in-one dental solution that helps protect your damaged tooth, cover tooth impurities, and improve the overall aesthetic of your smile.
Dental crowns may seem sturdy and look similar to our teeth, but they still need some maintenance to protect our natural teeth for a long time. In this post, learn how to take care of your dental crowns so they can last longer and prevent any crown-related complications.
Importance of dental crown maintenance
A dental crown may look like a natural tooth, but it is not as sturdy as one. It can also chip, break, and fall off if you don’t take care of it properly. Any damage to your dental crown can also affect the health of the natural tooth underneath it.
Aesthetically, your crowns may look like your natural teeth. However, they are entirely different when it comes to quality and strength. The support that holds your dental crown is your weak natural tooth that it covers. So, a bad bite or teeth-grinding issues can lessen the lifespan of your dental crown and, in worst cases, even your natural tooth.
The disease-causing bacteria are only waiting for the right opportunity so they can sneak under your crown. When successful, they can continue to damage your weak tooth, which can lead to tooth loss. In some cases, you may also end up with a tooth infection.
Possible problems that may involve dental crowns
Your crown care and oral hygiene can make your dental crown work for you or against you. If you fail on those oral care aspects, you may encounter the following common dental problems with dental crowns:
- Tooth decay under a dental crown: If you had a dental crown due to a cracked or worn out tooth, your tooth underneath is still alive and susceptible to decay. With poor oral hygiene, the bacteria can cause cavities on the border between your natural tooth and crown. Once the bacteria reach the inner layers of your tooth, you will start to experience pain under your dental crown.
- Infection: The consequence of untreated tooth decay under a dental crown is a tooth infection. If the bacteria infect the tooth pulp, you will need a root canal treatment to preserve your natural tooth. In some cases, too much pressure from the crown can irritate the tooth nerve and cause an infection.
- A cracked tooth or chipped dental crown: Biting on a popcorn kernel or any hard foods can chip your crown, especially if it is a porcelain or porcelain fused to a metal crown. Once chipped, it may cause wounds in your mouth or expose your natural tooth underneath.
- Recessed gums: Plaque can also accumulate between your dental crown and gums if you have poor oral hygiene. The bacteria in plaque can irritate the gums and cause them to recede, which is an early sign of gum disease.
- Loose or ill-fitting crowns: The cement that holds your natural tooth and dental crown together can dissolve over time and result in a loose crown. The loose dental crown will move as you speak or eat. It may also leak the bacteria to your natural tooth underneath the crown and cause tooth decay or tooth infection.
Helpful tips to take care of your dental crowns
Restorations like crowns are an effective way to preserve your natural tooth and restore your smile. Since it is an oral appliance fixed on your natural tooth, you need to be extra careful with your diet, behavior, and oral hygiene. Here are some helpful tips on how you can take care of your dental crowns:
Observe proper oral hygiene
Your dental crown depends on the health of your natural tooth underneath it. If your natural tooth gets severely damaged by tooth decay under the crown, it may no longer be sturdy enough to support your dental crown.
To prevent any dental conditions from affecting your natural tooth under the crown, you must always brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily.
Visit your dentist twice a year for oral exams
Your teeth may look fine on the outside but decayed on the inside. The disease-causing bacteria can be too sneaky in infiltrating your teeth by creating small holes to damage your tooth from the inside. X-rays and oral exams can reveal the current condition of your teeth beyond the naked eye.
During oral exams, your dentist can also examine the condition of your dental crown to make sure it is still intact and doesn’t show any complications.
Get a professional cleaning every six months
Professional teeth cleaning helps get rid of the tartar that can no longer be cleaned by brushing or flossing. Though crowns do not decay, the teeth next to them can still get cavities. Your dentist can also deep clean your gum line to prevent gum disease and prevent receding gums.
Use night guards
Teeth grinding causes the lower teeth to wear out. If you often notice yourself grinding your teeth, your dentist may recommend a night guard to protect not only your dental crown but also your remaining natural teeth.
Abrasions and lesions on the tooth enamel due to teeth grinding can trigger tooth decay and increase tooth sensitivity. Aside from a night guard, you may also do some relaxation exercises to alleviate the tension in your jaw muscles.
Avoid sticky, staining, and hard-to-bite foods
The bacteria in plaque loves sticky foods since they are starchy and stick around your tooth. They thrive in the presence of sugar and starch that you eat. So, eating sticky foods is like fueling the bacterial growth in your mouth to damage your teeth. You must also avoid brittle candies or hard-to-bite foods to prevent chipping your dental crown.
Staining foods like tea, red wine, or coffee can stain your dental crowns like your natural teeth. However, some types of dental crowns, such as porcelain crowns, are more susceptible to stains.
Teeth whitening treatment doesn’t work on dental restorations like crowns since they are synthetic materials. What you can do is limit your consumption of staining beverages or use a straw when you drink them.