A dental crown is made of lustrous, natural-looking porcelain or other materials that are strong enough to withstand bite force. While crowns are quite durable, there are some misconceptions surrounding their care. Dr. Sameet Koppikar of Biltmore Dental Center shares these tips to help patients throughout the Glendale area get maximum return for their investment in dental crowns.
Preventing decay and gum disease
Because it is made from artificial materials, the crown itself cannot develop tooth decay. However, it is important to bear in mind that most of your natural tooth still resides under the crown. Negligent oral hygiene allows cavities to form at the gum line or under the crown. The area where the crown meets your gum line is called the margin. If not kept clean this groove traps plaque and food particles, contributing to gum disease. Either condition – caries or gum disease – can compromise the longevity of your crown, and result in discomfort and need for further dental work.
Good home care and regular professional cleanings and examinations are vital to keep your mouth healthy. Brush after eating using a soft bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Use soft downward strokes with a little extra attention at the margin, and rinse with plain water. Floss before bedtime, working the floss gently around the crown. Schedule check-ups at least twice a year; more often if Dr. Koppikar recommends it.
Avoid the hard stuff
Porcelain is very hard so it holds up well to chewing. But it is brittle, so crowns can fracture, break, or become dislodged. To avoid damaging your crown, don’t chew very hard foods directly on the crown and break the habit of chomping on hard objects like pens or ice.
A layer of protection
Bruxism is clenching or grinding your teeth excessively, especially at night. If Dr. Koppikar determines that you are a bruxer, he may recommend that you wear a night guard. This soft appliance is worn over the teeth at night to protect your crown, relieve discomfort, and improve your overall oral health.
Contact sports and other behaviors that can result in a blow to the face or cause your jaw to shut abruptly may also damage crowns (as well as your natural teeth). Please be sure to tell Dr. Koppikar if this type of activity is part of your lifestyle so that he may create a custom-fit sports guard for protection.
With good care, your dental crowns should last ten years or possibly much longer. Learn more about how Dr. Koppikar and the Biltmore Dental Center team can help by calling (602) 954-8200.