Crowns are a long-lasting, protective restoration for your teeth. The extra layer they create over your natural tooth structure adds support and stability for everyday use. With a quality crown you’ll be able to eat all your favorite foods and smile with confidence, thanks to modern aesthetic designs.
But crowns aren’t invincible. There are some steps you’ll want to take daily and annually to ensure your new “cap” lasts as long as it’s intended to (or even longer.)
Floss Around Your Crown Each Day
Flossing isn’t an activity that will pull your crown off of your tooth. Don’t worry! As long as your crown is set with the proper bonding agent and it’s had a few days to cure since the placement, you can (and should) floss every day. Since crowns have a thin margin along the edges, they’re prone to plaque sticking to them. If you don’t floss around your crown regularly, you’ll see more gingivitis, tartar buildup, and gum disease. Fortunately, flossing can help you prevent all of those from happening.
To properly floss your crown, you’ll want to hug the side of it and rub up and down, going as far as slightly below the gum tissues. Repeat this several times on both sides of your tooth.
Gently Brush Along the Margins
As you’re brushing your teeth, always pay close attention to the gum lines. Angle the brush gently toward your gum tissues to clean along the edge of your crown. An electric toothbrush can also be helpful.
Use a soft toothbrush and stick with non-abrasive products. Anything that’s too gritty — such as baking soda — could potentially scratch the surface of your new crown. Over time all of those scratches can make the cap look dull or cause it to accumulate extra stain buildup in the tiny crevices that are created. Stick with an ADA approved gentle toothpaste with fluoride.
Re-Think Bleaching Your Teeth
It’s great to have bright, white teeth. But when it comes to whitening them, you’ll want to talk about bleaching products before your crown is designed. Since crowns can’t be bleached into a whiter color, it will remain the same hue that we selected during the fabrication process. If you whiten the rest of your smile, the crown will stand out and look discolored. The only way to fix that type of a problem is to replace your crown with a new one. So, if you plan to whiten at any point in the future, it’s best to do it first! It’s easy to touch up at any time to keep your smile bright, but we want your crown to look as natural as possible.
Get Routine X-rays Taken
Looking into your mouth can only show you — or our dentist — so much. It’s also important to get a view of what’s going on between teeth, under your gum lines, and around the edges of your crown. That’s where digital X-rays come in! These high-resolution images capture areas of your oral anatomy that aren’t visible to the naked eye. That way if you have a new cavity that’s trying to form below your crown or there’s tartar developing down under the gums, we’ll be able to see. X-rays are an important aspect of getting the “big picture” when it comes to your exams
Invest in a Nightguard
Some people naturally clench and grind their teeth while they’re sleeping. Chronic bruxism can put you at a risk for fractured dental work, even if it’s a crown made out of ceramic or porcelain. By sleeping in a protective mouthguard or bite splint, you can place a small buffer between your upper and lower teeth so that they don’t come into full contact with one another. The minimal investment could save you from having to buy a new crown or other dental work!
Schedule a Cleaning Every Six Months
Dr. Huynh will need to examine your teeth and dental work (including new crowns) at least once or twice a year. Early intervention helps you avoid complex issues while they’re easier to intercept or reverse. And since the margins of your crowns may tend to accumulate more plaque than other areas, it’s important to have them professionally cleaned. Otherwise your tooth with the new crown could unnecessarily be predisposed to gum disease or decay.
Do you have questions about an existing dental crown? Be sure to schedule an appointment with our Mesa dentist to find out how we can help. Call Eastport Dental today to get started.