If you have a severely damaged or decayed tooth, your dentist will want to talk to you about your treatment options. There are several different methods of restoring teeth to their former glory, giving them back their strength and durability so that they can function properly, as well as making them look healthy and attractive once more.
One of the most popular types of dental restoration is a porcelain crown. However, in order to get the best from your procedure and guarantee its success, you will need to make sure that you follow the aftercare instructions provided. Here is what you need to know about porcelain crowns and how to take care of them and keep them in tip-top condition for as long as possible.
About porcelain crowns
Porcelain crowns are tooth-shaped prosthetic teeth that are hollow inside and are designed to sit over the top of the badly damaged, decayed or broken tooth that they are going to restore. Every crown is bespoke, created for a specific tooth within a specific patient’s mouth. No two crowns are identical. Not only are they designed in the perfect shape, size and overall appearance to blend in seamlessly with the rest of your smile, they are also glazed in a shade that closely matches your existing teeth, making them even more difficult to notice. In fact, modern crowns are so natural, many people find it impossible to tell the difference between them and real teeth.
The process to receive a crown is fairly straightforward. The underlying tooth is first prepared in whatever way is necessary. This could involve removing broken bits of teeth or drilling away decay. In most cases, the tooth will need to be filed down so that the crown can sit properly over the top and not look abnormally large. However, if a tooth has been broken or eroded, it may be necessary for it to be built up so that it can support the crown properly. The preparation is done using local anesthetic where necessary. Impressions are then taken of the tooth which will be used to create your bespoke crown, and you are fitted with a temporary restoration until your new crown is ready – a process that typically takes around a week.
Aftercare for porcelain crowns
Fortunately, making a smoother, straightforward recovery after getting a porcelain crown is simple if you follow the instructions provided by your dentist.
Firstly, you will need to wait for the numbness to wear off. Local anesthetic can last for several hours or more, and you will need to take special care during this time as it is common for patients to inadvertently bite their lips, tongue or inside of the cheeks when their mouth is numb. Hot drinks should also be avoided since you could accidentally burn yourself.
Some discomfort and sensitivity are very normal. Most of the time, these will resolve themselves without the need for assistance, but over the counter pain relief can be taken to help alleviate any pain you are feeling. Cold compresses can also be held against the side of the mouth to help reduce swelling and associated discomfort.
Whilst you are wearing your temporary crown, which is fitted while your bespoke crown is being created, you will need to take special care not to dislodge it or pull it out. This is because the cement used to secure it is only temporary and therefore the structure won’t be as secure as you might think. You will be asked to avoid sticky/chewy foods and to avoid flossing next to the temporary crown so that you don’t inadvertently lift it out. Once your final crown is fitted, you will be able to resume your usual diet and brushing/flossing technique. However, it is worth noting that a back and forth motion is recommended for flossing all types of dental restoration.
If you would like more information about porcelain crowns or the aftercare required when you have received them, our knowledgeable dental team would be happy to help. Please contact our offices at your convenience to discuss this popular restorative dental solution.