When it comes to restoring your smile, crowns are extremely versatile, helping correct an array of cosmetic flaws as well as adding strength to teeth that have been damaged by decay or trauma. One of the biggest benefits of crowns is their durability — with proper care, your new crowns can last for many years. The key is knowing what steps to take to prevent damage. Whether you have one or several crowns, following these five simple tips can help ensure your crowns provide you with years of beautiful smiles.
Avoid sticky and hard foods
Crowns are durable and strong, but they can still be damaged, just like your natural teeth. Chewing on ice or hard candies can chip, crack, or break your crown, which means you’ll need to have it replaced earlier than you normally would. Sticky or very chewy foods can also cause problems, either by weakening or loosening your crown or by causing sticky bits to get trapped between your crown and your gum. It’s best to avoid these foods when you can. Also, remember: The durable porcelain used to make your crown is designed to resist staining. That resistance also means it can’t be whitened like your natural teeth. Before having a crown applied, you might want to have a professional whitening treatment to make sure your crown matches your teeth when they look their best. Then, if you decide to have your teeth whitened in the future, your crown will still match and blend in beautifully.
Brush and floss to keep the tooth healthy
Your crown may be “artificial,” but the supporting tooth underneath still needs routine oral care to stay healthy and sound. Even though the crown extends over the entire tooth surface, you still need to brush the crown carefully to remove sticky plaque film and to keep the crown looking its best. And it’s also very important to floss since germs and food particles can still become trapped or caught between the crown and your gum or the neighboring tooth. When you have a temporary crown (before your permanent crown is put in place), you’ll be told to take care not to dislodge it when flossing. But your permanent crown adheres with a stronger dental cement so you can floss around your crown the same way you floss around your other teeth. Also, even though your tooth is covered by a crown, you may still have sensitivity issues when eating hot or cold foods (that's normal). If your teeth are sensitive, it's OK to use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
Kick your bad habits
Do you bite your nails? Chew on pencils, ice, or other hard objects? Grind your teeth when you’re stressed? Use your teeth for “tools” to open hard-to-budge bottle caps? Stop. Not only can these habits break your crowns, but they can break or chip your natural teeth as well. Plus, hard objects can splinter and get lodged between your gums or even damage your gums. If you’ve tried breaking these habits before with no success, now’s the time to double down. Not only will your teeth and gums thank you, but you can protect the investment in your new crown as well.
Use a night guard
It’s one thing to try to curb a grinding and clenching habit when you’re awake; at least then, you’re aware you’re doing it. The problem is, plenty of people grind and clench their teeth while they’re sleeping, which means they’re probably not even aware of it. Grinding and clenching might not seem like really serious problems, but over time, they can take a serious toll on your teeth. Just regular biting exerts about 200 pounds of pressure per square inch; with grinding and clenching, that pressure can increase significantly, and that means your crown is at an increased risk of breaking. Dr. Saeghi can tell if you have a grinding habit just by looking at your teeth and gums. And if you do, he can create a custom night guard to cushion your teeth and protect your crown while you sleep.
See the dentist regularly
Having routine checkups and cleanings every six months is important for making sure the gums surrounding the crown stay healthy and for keeping the supporting tooth healthy too. Plus, regular office visits allow Dr. Saeghi to check your crown to ensure it’s still “seated” and fitting properly so it continues to last for years.
At Modern Age Dentistry, we use state-of-the-art techniques and materials to provide patients with crowns that are beautiful and durable. To learn more about dental crowns and how they can help restore your smile, book an appointment online today.