Prevent Dental Crown Damage and Keep Your Teeth Healthy

By John Rink DDS on November 14, 2014

A man with healthy, bright, white teeth, smilingDental crowns can help save teeth from further damage or the need for extraction. If properly cared for, a dental crown can last over 15 years. Despite proper care, dental crowns can wear down over time or unexpected injuries can occur. When damage does occur, it is important to seek dental crown replacement immediately to improve the health of the underlying tooth. You can help prevent dental crown damage by understanding the causes as described in this overview from Charleston dentist John Rink.

What Causes Dental Crown Damage?

Dental crowns are extremely durable, however, there are a number of causes of dental crown damage. Any type of dental crown damage should be addressed as soon as possible, as a damaged crown can allow plaque and bacteria to reach the underlying tooth, resulting in decay or even damage to the tooth's nerve. Some causes of dental crown damage include:

  • Breakage: Dental crowns can break or fracture as a result of age or injury, among other things. An older dental crown is more vulnerable to fractures due to the pressure years of chewing and biting puts on the teeth. Chewing and biting exerts a lot of pressure on dental crowns, which, over time, can lead to fractures and damaged crowns. Facial injuries can also lead to broken or chipped dental crowns. Those who play contact sports are especially at risk of damaging their dental crowns (and natural teeth) and should wear a mouth guard for protection. 
  • Eating hard foods: Eating hard foods frequently, like corn chips or hard candies, can damage dental crowns. Depending on how hard the food is, fractures may occur instantly or develop over time.
  • Chewing on plastic or other hard items: Chewing on plastic or metal pen caps, ice, or other hard items, can shorten the lifespan of dental crowns and even damage the natural teeth. 
  • Opening packages with your teeth: Trying to open plastic packages or stuck on glue caps with your teeth can break or loosen dental crowns.
  • Underlying tooth decay: When tooth decay is detected on teeth with dental crowns, it is generally found at the bottom of the crown, along the gum line where the natural tooth is exposed. Plaque and bacteria can easily settle here and, if the teeth are not cleaned daily, can lead to tooth decay. Though decay of the underlying tooth isn't technically damage to the dental crown, it will result in the need for crown removal and replacement.
  • Worn out dental crown: Dental crowns can wear down over time, especially in those who suffer from chronic teeth grinding. Though the porcelain used to make dental crowns is extremely durable, with enough friction, dental crowns can be worn down to a point in which replacement is necessary.

Protect Your Dental Crowns

The best way to protect your dental crowns is to practice proper oral hygiene everyday. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and seeing your dentist for regular check-ups. To learn more about how you can protect your dental crowns and keep your smile healthy, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Rink.

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