Dental crowns are caps that are used to cover decayed or misshaped teeth. Crowns help restore the teeth shape, size, and normal functioning. Unlike your natural teeth, crowns don’t last forever without proper care.
Temporary Crown Maintenance
The first visit to a dentist includes the examination of your tooth, making its impression, and placing a temporary crown. A temporary crown is needed to preserve a tooth until a permanent crown is designed. Usually, it takes 2-3 weeks of a turn-around period. To keep your temporary crown safe you should follow these simple rules:
- Avoid eating chewy food, such as chewing gums and caramels
- Reduce chewing force on the temporary crown
- Don’t eat hard food, it has the potential to break your crown
- Clean your gums regularly, as they can be sore after the treatment
- Use dental floss carefully: try to gently slide it and not lift it out with force
If your crown is broken, contact your dentist. If you can’t visit your dentist, ask for dental adhesive in the pharmacy to fix your crown for some time. In this case, it is better to take the crown off when sleeping.
Permanent Crown Aftercare
With a final crown, you should follow the same rules mentioned above during first days after the procedure: do not bite hard objects, avoid chewing sticky food, floss and brush your teeth carefully. Rinse your mouth with warm salted water during the week. After local anesthesia, do not drink or eat until you are not numb. If you feel any discomfort or hypersensitivity after the procedure, take some over-the-counter pain relievers. If a tooth under the crown has a nerve you may feel sensitivity to cold and hot for a while.
There are some rules you should follow to care for your permanent crown after recovery:
- Oral Hygiene
Crowns are usually made of ceramic or a mix of metals. These materials don’t cause stains and plaque. However, any crown has an edge where it meets with the tooth. Dentists try to make this edge smooth, but it is impossible to achieve a perfectly smooth surface. This area should be cleaned thoroughly as it has the potential to develop cavity or gum disease. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss them with super floss and use interdental cleaners to remove plaque. If you have an aptitude for developing cavities, your dentist can prescribe a special high-fluoride gel to use at night to prevent teeth decay.
- Reduce Biting Force
Crowns are not as strong as your own healthy teeth. So, avoid biting hard objects and fingernails – this may damage your crown. There are also other risk factors that may cause crown damage: bruxism (teeth grinding), sports activities, stress that is often followed by clenching and grinding the teeth. In case you have bruxism, you may be prescribed to wear a nightguard during sleep. When doing sports, mouth guards are available to protect your crowns, other restorations as well as intact teeth.
If After a Dental Crown Placement:
- You Feel Sensitivity and Discomfort
Generally, a feeling of discomfort and sensitivity goes away within a few days after the procedure. But, if you still have a nerve in your tooth and experience any kind of discomfort when you bite, immediately contact your dentist. This may be a sign that your crown is too high and should be adjusted.
- You Have Noticed a Dark Line on Your Crowned Tooth
If you see a dark line on the tooth next to your gumline, don’t worry, it is normal. The dark line is a metal that is showing up through the crown. This is especially typical if you wear porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns.
- Your Crown Has Been Cracked
A dental crown, especially if it is made of porcelain, may chip under extreme biting force. In most cases, it can be repaired. The dentist uses a special adhesive and composite resin to temporarily repair the crown. Usually, the repaired crown doesn’t last long, so consider it as a temporary solution. If you have more than one chip, you may need to replace your crown.
- A Dental Crown Seems to Be Falling Out when You Bite or Chew
If your crown is badly adjusted to your tooth, it means that with a course of time the cement may wash out, resulting in the gap between the crown and the tooth under it. Usually, this is followed by a bad smell from the mouth. If you notice this symptom, you could already have bacteria spread under your crown. Contact your dentist to check your crown and fix it.
- Your Crown Has Been Fallen Out
Sometimes, crowns can fall out due to improper fit and washed-out cement. If this happens to you, put your crown in a plastic bag and bring it to your dentist. This crown can be used as a temporary one until your new crown is designed. Don’t try to put the crown in place on your own. In case of a fallen crown, wash your tooth to remove any cement left. A cotton swab or a toothpick may be helpful. If you don’t have the possibility to visit your dentist immediately, you can try to fit your crown by using a special adhesive sold in pharmacies.
The lifespan of dental crowns totally depends on the quality of treatment you receive and proper oral hygiene. With good hygiene and regular dental check-ups, porcelain or metal dental crowns can last a lifetime.
Generally, gold crowns tend to be the most durable, as they are made of a single piece of gold, which is a very solid material. But, the main disadvantage of this type of crown is its unnatural appearance. That is why most people prefer to have porcelain or e-max crowns that look like natural teeth, but are less durable. To ensure the longest life of your crown, it is advisable to have a root canal treatment prior to the procedure. During a root canal treatment, your dentist will remove all infections presented in your tooth pulp and fill your tooth with a special gutta-percha filling. This filling helps protect the crowned tooth from different bacteria.