Caring for Dental Crowns So They Last
Dental crowns have many uses, and they can last up to 20 years when properly maintained. Also called a cap, a crown is a prosthetic that is used to completely enclose a tooth. It is shaped – and usually colored – just like a real tooth, and it blends in with the rest of the person's teeth. Crowns are used for many things in modern dentistry, like:
- Covering up a tooth that has been badly damaged or is deformed
- Covering up stains and discoloration
- Protecting a weak tooth
- As a replacement tooth for an implant
- To hold a dental bridge in place
- To fix a gap between two teeth
- To lengthen a tooth
Getting a crown installed often requires two visits to the dentist. During the first visit, the dentist takes an impression of the patient's mouth and sends it to a laboratory that makes crowns. The dentist prepares the patient for the crown by removing a portion of enamel. This is done to ensure a tight fit when the crown is placed on the tooth. The dentist then fits the patient with a temporary crown to protect the prepared tooth while the permanent crown is being made. That normally takes about two weeks.
Once the crown is ready, the patient comes in for a second appointment. The temporary crown is removed, and the customized crown is attached using dental cement. There no significant recovery period after getting a dental crown; the patient might experience increased sensitivity to cold and hot beverages and foods, but they will be able to go back to their regular activities afterward.
Taking care of your dental crowns
Dental crowns are designed to be durable, but there are simple things a person can do to increase their longevity.
1. Practice good oral hygiene
A crown might not be susceptible to tooth decay, but the rest of the patient's mouth is. When a person with a crowned tooth fails to take proper care of their mouth, the base of the tooth begins to disintegrate. This can lead to the crown falling off or other issues.
2. Avoid habits that can chip it
Crowns are strong, but nothing compares to the strength of a real tooth. Patients should keep that in mind after getting a crown. Avoid habits that can cause the crown to chip like biting down on fingernails or chewing hard candy. It can lead to the crown chipping or, even worse, breaking.
3. Visit a dentist twice a year
Everyone should see a dentist twice a year regardless of if they have a dental crown installed. During the appointment, the dentist will clean the patient's teeth and evaluate the condition of the crown. Any repairs needed can be made then. That can prevent the need for a replacement crown down the road. The dentist will also make sure the tooth under the crown is healthy.
Crowns are made to last
The durability and longevity of dental crowns is one of the many reasons why dentists love this prosthetic. Stop by our San Antonio office to learn more about how to take care of your crown or have it repaired.
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