If you've had a root canal, chances are good that you have a porcelain crown or cap. When part of a tooth is removed during a root canal procedure, a crown is cemented over the remaining portion. Not only do the crowns look like real teeth, they perform like them as well. Crowns are made out of several different types of materials and although porcelain is durable, it's still subject to daily wear and tear.
Porcelain crowns aren't cheap, so take care of them to ensure they last the longest amount of time as possible. Crowns aren't made to last forever and you can expect to replace them a few times in your lifetime, but proper care will help you get the most life out of them.
Here are some tips for taking care of porcelain crowns:
1. Brush the crowns and floss around them just like you do with your natural teeth. Since the crowns are attached to natural teeth, they are still susceptible to cavities and decay. Use a soft-bristled or medium-bristled toothbrush, as well as a fluoride toothpaste, to gently polish your teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once a day. Ask your dentist for tips on how to floss around crowns for the best result.
2. Avoid using your crowns to chew on extremely crunchy items, such as ice or hard candy, which can damage and degrade the porcelain. The coldness of ice can also weaken the porcelain and cause it to fracture more easily. Also, if you have crowns on your front teeth, avoid biting your nails, pen caps, or any other hard object.
3. Stay away from overly sticky foods, such as caramels and gum, as well. Although it's not likely, these types of foods may loosen or dislodge the crowns from the natural teeth underneath.
4. If you grind your teeth while sleeping, have your dentist make you a custom-fit mouth guard to prevent damage to the crowns and your natural teeth. Over time, the grinding action can wear the porcelain down, resulting in a costly replacement.
1. Once you have porcelain crowns, it's more important than ever to keep your regular dentist appointments. Dentists are able to check on the wear and tear of the crown, allowing you to make any hygiene changes before irreversible damage occurs.
2. If you have any indications that the crown may be impaired, visit your dentist as soon as possible to see if it can be fixed. For instance, if your bite seems "off," the crown may need to be adjusted via a sanding process. This is especially common with new porcelain crowns.
For more information, consider contacting a professional like Patrick M Pitts.