Dental crowns are a popular dental restoration used to repair damaged or decayed teeth, but like any dental procedure, they can occasionally encounter problems. Whether you’re experiencing discomfort, sensitivity, or even a loose crown, it’s important to address these dental crown issues promptly to ensure the longevity and functionality of your restoration.
The Role and Types of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns play a crucial role in maintaining oral health and function. These restorative devices, often made of porcelain, metal, or a combination of both, are used to cover a damaged tooth.
They provide a protective covering that restores the tooth’s shape, size, and function while improving its appearance. By encasing the natural tooth, dental crowns provide durability and support, allowing you to regain the ability to bite, chew, and speak confidently.
Owens Cosmetic & Family Dentistry uses ceramic porcelain crowns for a realistic-looking restoration. Porcelain is a stain-resistant material with a luster that mimics a natural tooth, so the crown blends in seamlessly with your existing teeth.
Common Problems Associated with Dental Crowns
Dental crowns are a popular and effective solution for restoring damaged or decayed teeth. While they are generally durable and long-lasting, like any dental restoration, they can encounter certain problems over time. Some common issues that can arise with dental crowns include:
Changes in Bite or Occlusion
When the crown doesn’t align correctly with your bite, it can lead to discomfort, problems with chewing, and potentially even misalignment of your teeth. A poor fit can occur due to incorrect dental impressions or inadequate tooth preparation.
If your dental crown doesn’t fit properly, your dentist may need to re-cast and replace the crown.
Sensitivity or Discomfort
Sensitivity or discomfort is often reported after crown placement, especially when consuming hot or cold foods and drinks. This usually subsides over time, but persistent sensitivity may indicate a problem with the crown or underlying tooth.
During the tooth preparation stage, your dentist may have used a high-speed handpiece that caused nerve irritation, especially if your tooth had a lot of decay. An improper fit can also contribute to sensitivity because ill-fitting crowns can increase pressure when biting and chewing, irritating the gums and underlying tooth structures.
If sensitivity or pain worsens, consult your dentist to rule out any underlying issues. Your dentist may recommend a desensitizing mouth rinse that contains potassium nitrate or sodium fluoride. They may also need to remove the crown and re-shape the tooth to create a better fit.
Chipping or Cracking
While dental crowns are designed to be durable, they can occasionally chip or fracture, especially if exposed to excessive force, such as biting on hard objects or grinding teeth (bruxism).
If you notice any damage to your crown, seek dental attention immediately to prevent further complications. Most cracking or chipping will compromise the crown’s structural integrity, so it must be replaced. After removing the damaged crown, your dentist will take a new dental impression to fabricate a new crown.
Although rare, a dental crown may become loose or completely dislodged. This can happen due decay underneath the crown, weakened cement or adhesive, or trauma to the tooth.
If your crown becomes loose, contact your dentist for evaluation and reattachment. If the crown is loose but intact, your dentist may be able to recement it in place. If the underlying tooth structure has changed, they may need to re-prepare the tooth before reattaching the crown.
Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to the materials used in dental crowns. Allergies are more common in metal crowns, with a 2012 study demonstrating that 5% of patients experienced an allergic reaction to dental crowns made with amalgam. Allergies can manifest as gum irritation, oral discomfort, or systemic symptoms.
At Owens Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, we use metal-free ceramic porcelain dental crowns to reduce the risk of allergic reactions. Before undergoing a dental crown procedure, your dentist will also check your medical history to determine whether you have an increased risk of allergies and may perform a patch test to find a crown material that is right for you.
Gum Irritation or Inflammation
In some cases, the gum tissue surrounding a dental crown may become irritated or inflamed, leading to redness, swelling, or tenderness. This can occur due to improper placement of the crown, poor oral hygiene, or gum disease.
To treat gum disease or irritation due to dental crowns, your dentist may recommend a course of antibiotics or an antibacterial mouth rinse to treat the infection. If the infection is severe, the crown may need to be removed and the underlying issue treated before a new crown can be placed.
5 Tips for Preventing and Treating Dental Crown Issues
Understanding how to prevent and treat dental crown issues can help you ensure optimal oral health. The following tips can help you maximize the lifespan of your dental crown:
Choose the Right Dentist
The first step in preventing dental crown issues starts with choosing the right dental professional. A consultation with a dentist can help you determine whether they are the right match for your needs.
Your dentist should use the latest technologies and techniques to give you dental crowns that perfectly fit your mouth and match your smile. At Owens Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, we use digital impressions and an intraoral camera to ensure we get the most accurate fit and match to your natural teeth.
Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene
Maintaining good oral hygiene is critical to preventing dental crown issues. Plaque and tartar can build up on teeth, causing discoloration and staining. Restorations like crowns cannot be professionally whitened and must be replaced to avoid causing a patchy smile. Tartar buildup on crowns can also lead to decay in the underlying tooth and gum tissue.
Regular brushing and flossing and routine professional cleanings can keep your crown tooth and the surrounding gums healthy, reducing the risk of gum disease and decay in the adjacent teeth. An antibacterial mouthwash can also help to keep harmful bacteria at bay. It’s crucial to pay particular attention to where the crown meets the gum line, as this is a common area for plaque to accumulate.
Follow Post-Crown Placement Instructions
Once your crown has been placed, your dentist will provide detailed aftercare instructions. These might include dietary recommendations such as avoiding hard or sticky foods that could damage the crown or special cleaning instructions to ensure plaque removal around the crowned tooth. Following these instructions can help prevent sensitivity, discomfort, and premature damage to the crown.
Regular Dental Check-ups
Regular dental check-ups play an integral role in maintaining the health of your dental crowns. These visits allow your dentist to identify early signs of potential problems such as wear and tear, loosening of the crown, or an allergic reaction to the crown’s material. Early detection can address many issues before they become more serious, potentially saving you time, discomfort, and money.
Contact Your Dentist at the First Sign of Trouble
Despite taking all the necessary precautions, you might still encounter issues with your dental crown. Contact your dentist immediately if you notice discomfort, looseness, or other dental crown issues. Delaying could exacerbate the problem, leading to more complex treatment or tooth extraction.
Get High-Quality Dental Crowns at Owens Cosmetic and Family Dentistry
Dental crown issues, while common, can be effectively managed. If you’re experiencing dental crown issues or considering a dental crown, contact Owens Cosmetic & Family Dentistry. Our team of experienced dental professionals is dedicated to providing top-quality dental care tailored to your unique smile.