How to Care for Dental Crowns

Dental CrownsIf you have broken, cracked or decayed teeth, your dentist might treat them with dental crowns. A dental crown is a cap in the shape of a tooth that is placed atop the tooth to restore it to its original size, shape, strength and look. Dental crowns are cemented into place to encase the full tooth from the gum line on upward. Once your dental drown is positioned, you will feel minimal, if any, discomfort. There might be some sensitivity to cold and hot liquids and foods if the tooth has not had a root canal as it still contains the nerve.

Where to Start

The dentist might prescribe a gel with a high level of fluoride if you are especially prone to cavities. Keep in mind your crown will not protect against gum disease. While the crowned tooth will not decay, the gum line is exposed. So do not assume you should neglect the site around where the crown was placed. Brush at least two times per day. Floss at least once per day.

What if the Crown Chips?

Dental crowns, especially the all-porcelain variety, have the potential to chip. In some instances, the chip can be repaired within the mouth. The dentist etches the porcelain with a special agent and bonds composite resin to it to remedy the chip. However, porcelain dental crowns that are repaired tend to not last as long as many expect. If there is significant chipping, it might be necessary to replace the crown.

Your Habits Determine the Lifespan of Your Crown

The typical dental crown lasts between five to fifteen years. The lifespan ultimately hinges on the frequency and quality of your oral health care habits. Permanent crowns require less maintenance than the temporary variety. In general, patients should focus on maintaining good oral habits while avoiding bad ones like biting nails, grinding teeth, chewing ice etc. Each of these activities can loosen a crown. Brush, floss and use antibacterial mouthwash to treat the space around the crown. Pay close attention to the area where the gum meets with the tooth as you perform your daily cleanings.

When to Contact the Dentist Following the Placement of Your Dental Crown

If you feel a sensation of pain when biting down, reach out to your dentist for assistance. The dentist will examine the crown. There is a good chance he will find the crown is too high. The dentist can adjust the crown so when you bite you do not hit it first. If the crown feels loose when you chew or if there is an odd odor around the tooth, consult with your dentist. There is always the possibility that the cement will wash out from below the crown. Bacteria can leak in and cause decay that will require the attention of a dentist.

You should also visit with the dentist if your crown falls out. A crown can fall out as a result of washed-out cement or an improper fit. If this occurs, place your crown in a plastic bag and bring it to the dentist. It might be possible to use the old crown as a temporary crown but a new crown will likely have to be made.

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