The Ultimate Dental Crown Care Checklist

Properly care for your dental crown

Getting the Most out of Your Dental Crown

Dental crowns are practically dental superheroes for their ability to save teeth that may have been lost otherwise. They restore a tooth’s health, function, and appearance in one fell swoop, becoming just as much a part of your beautiful smile as your natural teeth. And, just like your natural teeth, your crowns need regular care to continue doing their job. Caring for dental crowns is simple, but it makes a huge difference in your short- and long-term oral health—and in your wallet! After all, taking great care of your dental crown helps prevent future oral health issues and allows your dental crown to last longer before it needs to be replaced, saving you from extra expenses. But what exactly does caring for a dental crown involve? We’ve put together the ultimate dental crown care checklist to help ensure that you get the most out of your restoration.

How long do dental crowns last?

Exactly how long a dental crown lasts depends on a few factors, including what the crown is made of and how well it’s cared for. After all, there are different materials to choose from, including metal and porcelain. Metal crowns are the longest-lasting type of dental crown, with the potential to last 20 years or more, but they aren’t the best cosmetically if the tooth in question is visible when you smile. Porcelain is commonly used in dental crowns because it’s strong, durable, and looks incredibly natural. With proper care, a porcelain dental crown can last up to 15 years or more. If you don’t care for it well, though, your crown might only last 5 to 10 years before it needs to be replaced, so it’s incredibly important to give your crown the care it needs!

What should you avoid after getting a dental crown?

When you first get a dental crown, Dr. Sexton will give you permanent crown care guidelines to follow while you heal. At the beginning of your healing process, it’s wise to avoid chewing on the affected side of your mouth in general. You should be especially careful to avoid hard, crunchy foods because putting a lot of pressure on the tooth can cause the area to become sensitive. Giving it a break will help your gum tissue heal faster so that you’ll be back to eating all your favorite foods in no time!

Your dental crown shouldn’t budge from normal chewing, but the material that cements it in place continues to strengthen its bond for about 24 hours. Avoiding sticky or chewy foods for at least this long ensures that your crown won’t shift before it cures completely. The healing process doesn’t take long, and the tissue surrounding your dental crown should be back to normal after about a week. Any lingering sensitivity or discomfort is usually gone after about two weeks.

How do you clean dental crowns?

Dental crowns don’t just look like natural teeth—they’re also just as easy to care for! Cleaning your dental crown is as simple as sticking to a great oral hygiene routine, which should include brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and using mouthwash daily. You don’t need to take any extra steps! Your crown is cemented into place, creating a seal that keeps bacteria from getting underneath it.

What can you eat with a dental crown?

Dental crowns are durable enough to withstand the same daily wear and tear as your natural teeth, so you can continue eating all of your favorite foods. Like natural teeth, however, dental crowns do have their limits. Anything that risks damaging your natural teeth like crunching on ice, cracking open nuts, or trying to open packaging of any sort with your teeth also risks damaging your crown. As a result, you should avoid these behaviors as a general rule—for your natural teeth and your crown alike.

But how strong are crowns on front teeth? Crowns on your front teeth experience less biting pressure than crowns on your molars, so these crowns are definitely capable of withstanding normal, daily use. The foods you should be most careful of when you have  a crown are particularly sticky foods like taffy, as it could loosen your crown. Otherwise crowns don’t require you to change your diet!

What habits should you kick to the curb when you get a dental crown?

Despite the durability of crowns, there are several habits to avoid if you plan on getting one. These include things we mentioned earlier like crunching on ice and opening packaging with your teeth. Bruxism, or grinding your teeth, also creates a lot of force, which can cause your teeth and crowns to chip, crack, or break. While this often isn’t a conscious habit, you can control or eliminate it by using relaxation techniques and wearing a nightguard.

It’s also best to drop smoking and other tobacco-related habits. Porcelain crowns are stain resistant, but they will pick up stain over time from smoking. And while you can whiten your natural teeth, you can’t whiten crowns. Kicking your tobacco habit helps your crown last longer and keeps your smile beautiful—plus, it’s healthier!

How do you know when it’s time to replace your crown?

The most reliable way to know when it’s time to get a replacement crown is by visiting Dr. Sexton and his team for regular cleanings every six months. These preventive visits give him a chance to examine your crown for signs of damage. One of the biggest dangers to a dental crown is not catching a failing crown early, allowing bacteria to make its way underneath and cause a cavity. So it’s important to keep up with these regular appointments! They’ll give you the confidence of knowing that your teeth are healthy and that your crown is still doing its job well.

The way you care for your dental crown doesn’t just help you avoid crown problems—it keeps your teeth and gums healthier and enables your dental crown to do its job for as long as possible. That’s a pretty stellar deal for such a minimal daily time investment! If you’d like to learn more about dental crowns and whether they’re right for you, feel free to call or go online today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Sexton.