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What to Expect with Dental Crowns

A dental crown is a restorative cover that sits over the top of your tooth. This cover is usually made from porcelain or resin, and it helps protect a tooth while restoring its color, shape, and strength.

There are several reasons that someone might need a dental crown. Your dentist might recommend one if you have a cavity that’s too large for a traditional filling, if your tooth is worn down, decayed, or otherwise weakened, or if you’d like to hide a badly discolored tooth.

The Procedure

Dentist performing a procedure on a patient

Getting a dental crown usually takes two visits to your dentist. At your initial visit, the dentist will numb your mouth with anesthetic, then prepare the tooth for the crown. This means he or she will clear away any decal and shave down the tooth so the crown will fit once it’s in place.

Next, your dentist will make an impression of your prepared tooth (either with a mold or a digital scan). This impression will go off to the lab so the crown can be built, and you’ll head home with a temporary crown over your tooth.

Your second visit is typically two weeks later. At this appointment, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and place the custom-made crown in its place. The dentist will examine the crown for proper fit, color, and comfort – and if everything looks good, he or she will cement the crown onto your tooth. Just like that, you’re all done… and your smile looks great!

How long do dental crowns last?

The average lifespan for a well-maintained dental crown is typically around 15 years. However, when taken care of properly, it is common to see them last upwards of 25-30 years. The mouth is a complex system, and there are many factors that can affect the longevity of a crown, including a person’s oral hygiene habits, along with the day-to-day wear it is exposed to.

What problems can develop with a dental crown? 

There are several issues that you might experience over time with your crown, including:

  • Discomfort or sensitivity: A newly crowned tooth may be sensitive immediately after the procedure as the anesthesia begins to wear off. If the crowned tooth still has a nerve in it, you may experience some heat and cold sensitivity. Your dentist might recommend that you brush your teeth with toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. Pain or sensitivity that happens when you bite down usually means that the crown is too high on the tooth. If this is the case, call your dentist. This problem is easily fixed.
  • Chipped crown: Crowns made of all porcelain can sometimes chip. Small chips can be repaired and the crown can remain in your mouth. The dental crown may need to be replaced if the chip is large or when there are many chips.
  • Loose crown: Sometimes, the cement that holds the crown on can wash out from under the crown. Not only does this allow the crown to become loose, it allows bacteria to leak in and cause decay to the tooth that remains. If your crown feels loose, contact your dentist’s office.
  • Crown falls off: A dental crown can actually fall off. When this happens, it’s usually due to an improper fit or a lack of cement. If this happens to you, reach out to your dentist’s office immediately. The dentist may be able to re-cement your crown in place. If the crown can’t be put back in place, a new crown will need to be made.
  • Allergic reaction: The metals used to make dental crowns are often a mixture of several metals. You can have an allergic reaction to the metal or porcelain that’s used in the dental crown. However, this is extremely rare.
  • Dark line on crowned tooth next to the gum line: You might see a dark line next to the gum line of your crowned tooth. This is normal — particularly if you have a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown. This dark line is simply the metal of the crown showing through.

Dental crown after care 

Dental crown after care

Permanent and Temporary Dental crown after care:

Foods and drinks to avoid with temporary crowns 

With the temporary dental crown, the following few precautions should be taken:

  • Avoid chewy or sticky foods, such as caramel, taffy, and gum. These foods can grab and pull out the crown.
  • Avoid chewing hard foods, such as granola, hard candy, and ice. These goods can break off or dislodge the crown.
  • Avoid foods that are extremely cold or hot
  • Avoid tough foods like hard bread or steak.

It is also advisable that you chew less on the affected mouth part but chew more with the opposite side of your mouth. This will reduce the possibility of dislodgement or damage to the dental crown. More so, when flossing, slide out the flossing material instead of lifting it out. You may mistakenly pull off the temporary crown when lifting the floss out.

Once you receive the permanent crown, it is important for you to avoid sticky diets for the first 24hours. After then, you may return to your normal diets and oral practices.

Foods and drinks to avoid with permanent crowns

When you receive your permanent dental crown, you will have fewer dietary restrictions. Nonetheless, there are still a few diets to avoid, which include:

  • Hard or crunchy foods like pretzels, seeds, or nuts. These types of foods can break or chip your dental restoration.
  • Sticky foods like steak and candies. These foods can pull off or potentially dislodge your dental crown. More so, be mindful of your dental crown when choosing snacks.
  • Popcorn and nuts. Biting down on nuts or accidentally on an uncooked popcorn kernel can be harmful to your dental crown.
  • If you’re the type that likes chewing on ice, it is important that you stop as this can cause damage to your dental crown.
  • Raw vegetables. It is advisable to eat cooked vegetables and not raw vegetables. Cooked vegetables are softer and will not harm or damage your dental restoration.

Other tips to preserve your permanent crown 

In addition to the diets to avoid above, there are some certain lifestyles and behaviors to choose or avoid if you have a dental crown, these include:

  • Using your teeth as tools: never use your teeth as tools, they are never one. Try as much as possible not to use your teeth to open packages, bite your fingernails, tear off tags from clothing, and open crown corks. Doing these can damage both your natural teeth and dental crowns.
  • Brushing and flossing regularly: dental crowns do not require special oral care. They can be cared for just like your natural teeth. Therefore, brushing and flossing at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste can make your dental crown last longer.
  • Schedule a regular appointment (or at least every six months) with your dentist for dental cleanings and check-ups: This practice is important whether you have a dental crown or not.
  • Avoid dark-coloured foods and drinks: most dental crowns are made from high-grade porcelain that is resistant to discolouration and staining. However, porcelain crowns can take on a slightly different colour at their edges over time due to the consumption of dark-coloured foods and drinks. Contrariwise, the dark-coloured foods and drinks may change the shade of your natural teeth causing them to look darker or yellowish than the dental crown.

By carefully following the above guidelines, you would be protecting your dental crown and preserving your investment.

How much do dental crowns cost?

Dental crowns vary in price based on the material used and what area of the country you live in. Furthermore, porcelain crowns are usually the most expensive. The cheapest types of crowns are usually the ones made of gold or porcelain fused to metal ones.

We are dedicated to providing comprehensive oral health treatment to all our patients. Our team, led by Dr. Tafreshi, believes that a solid doctor-patient relationship is built on mutual trust and respect. We work closely with each patient to establish a lifelong partnership and provide personalized treatment plans. We want you to feel empowered in making decisions about your oral health. Don't let dental care be a luxury out of reach; we believe a beautiful smile is easily achievable for everyone. Schedule an appointment today, and let us help you achieve your dental goals.

15 Mareblu Suite #360, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656