Aftercare Instructions for Dental Crowns
By John Rink DDS on August 15, 2014
Dental crowns are commonly used as a way to permanently protect teeth that have suffered extensive damage. This may occur after an injury or root canal treatment, for example, where a large portion of tissue has been removed or weakened. After a successful crowning procedure, patients can once again smile beautifully and eat safely, knowing that the tooth has been preserved and reinforced.
Our Charleston practice typically uses all-ceramic crowns to ensure a tooth’s durability and aesthetics, but even this superior restorative material requires proper care. By maintaining the health of your crown and its underlying tooth, you can extend the longevity of your restoration up to and beyond its expected lifespan.
Unlike natural tooth tissue, porcelain and other dental materials cannot form decay or cavities from bacterial infection. Unfortunately, some patients falsely believe that this means hygiene is less important for teeth with restorations. In fact, recurrent decay is a very tangible possibility if hygiene is continuously ignored, forming in the spaces between a restoration and remaining tissue. Over time, small spaces may also develop as the dental cement erodes slightly, giving additional room for bacteria to reach the tooth. If decay does form within a crown, not only will it have to be removed for treatment, but due to the tooth’s already weakened state, there is a good chance that the tooth will need to be replaced entirely.
For this reason, it is imperative that patients continue to utilize proper hygiene habits, both at home and through regular professional cleanings. Treat your dental crowns as you should treat any regular tooth: brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, floss carefully around the edges of your crowns, and strive to maintain a healthy diet with minimal sugar and acidic drinks. If you are a smoker, consider quitting all tobacco use to avoid gum disease and stains, although you will be instructed by your dentist to abstain from smoking for at least a given period after receiving your crowns.
Porcelain crowns are designed to withstand the normal forces of chewing and eating, much in the way natural enamel can. But, like enamel, porcelain can also become chipped or cracked when subjected to irregular pressure. To prevent accidental damage to your crowns, avoid chewing on hard objects like ice or your nails. Similarly, do not use your teeth for any functional purposes other than eating.
Some patients should also consider the use of an occlusal appliance to protect their teeth if they are at a greater risk of damage. Common risk factors for damage include:
- Contact sports: Anyone involved in a contact sport or similarly physical hobby should wear a mouthguard whenever participating in said activity. Sudden trauma to the head or face can easily result in dental damage, especially to restorations like crowns. For a comfortable and effective mouthguard, consider one that is professionally customized by your dentist.
- Bruxism: Teeth grinding is a common habit among patients and can result in varying degrees of damage to teeth and crowns. Most patients who grind their teeth at night will gradually wear away at enamel, while more severe cases of bruxism can result in cracked restorations. If you are determined to suffer from this condition, speak with your dentist about the use of a night guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.
Learn More about Dental Crowns
Whether you plan to receive dental crowns in the future or have already had them installed, our dental center is happy to assist you with any questions you may have. Contact us to learn more about crowns or our other restorative services, or to schedule an appointment with one of our dental professionals.