Dental crowns, veneers and bridges are functional and beautiful restorative solutions for people with a wide range of dental issues! They protect your original teeth from damage while also looking wonderfully natural, because they are custom-made to match or enhance each patient’s individual smile. Although they are typically crafted from durable porcelain, they still need some care and upkeep to ensure that they last as long as possible while still looking great. Here are some guidelines on how to keep your porcelain crowns, veneers and bridges strong and looking their best.
Keep Them Clean
Did you know: Your porcelain veneer, crown or bridge can’t get cavities, but the tooth under it still can! Tooth decay underneath a dental restoration means that the restoration won’t last very long, and that you will likely need a more invasive treatment to save or replace the tooth in the future (such as a root canal or implant). Neglecting to clean your mouth can also still lead to bad breath and gum disease. It’s very important to practice good oral hygiene even (especially!) if you have an esthetic dental restoration. Gently floss around the veneer, bridge or crown once a day, and brush using a soft-bristled toothbrush twice a day. It’s also a good idea to rinse using a mouthwash or salt water daily, to help remove bacteria that can lead to tooth decay or gum disease around the hard-to-reach edges of the restoration.
Treat Them Gently
Dental crowns, veneers and bridges are typically made from porcelain - and while quite strong, porcelain is not as durable as natural tooth enamel. Don’t use your teeth as tools! We see a surprising number of patients who break even their natural teeth after using them as bottle openers, to tear plastic packaging, to crunch ice, or even after biting on hard candy. Treat your new teeth gently to ensure that they don’t chip or break. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid abrasive toothpastes (such as charcoal toothpastes), because harsh materials on porcelain will wear them down, leaving them more susceptible to staining and damage.
Watch What You Eat
Porcelain is much more resistant to staining than our natural teeth, so to avoid mismatched natural and porcelain teeth, try to avoid consuming strongly pigmented foods and drinks. Popular highly staining foods and drinks include: coffee, dark sodas, wine, tea, curries, tomato sauce and berries. If you love these things and really don’t want to give them up, that’s ok! Simply swish with water between bites/sips or immediately after finishing, and/or clean your teeth 30 minutes after eating/drinking to help keep stains from settling in. Using an ADA approved teeth-whitening toothpaste can also help lift stains from your natural teeth.
Don’t Smoke, and Drink in Moderation
Cigarettes and tobacco use of all kinds are harmful to your health in so many ways. Specific to porcelain crowns/veneers/bridges, tobacco use: greatly reduces the lifespan of your restorations; can cause gum disease and tooth decay around and underneath the restorations; and can cause tar buildup and staining on the porcelain. Excessive alcohol consumption can corrode the teeth underneath the restoration, and may cause them to loosen and even fall off.
Keep Up With Regular Dentist Visits
It’s always good to keep up with twice yearly dentist checkups, but even more so if you have a crown, bridge or veneer. Your dentist will check to see how your restoration is doing, as well as the teeth and gum structure surrounding it. They will help ensure that everything is in great shape, and offer advice, adjustments or treatments if your restorations need some help to last as long as they possibly can.
Use a Mouthguard
Mouthguards are great for a wide range of uses, including preventing cosmetic restorations from chipping, breaking or dislodging. We highly recommend using a mouthguard if you play sports or grind your teeth at night - it will go a long way to protecting your restorations and your teeth underneath it.
Have any questions or concerns about how to take care of your esthetic dental restorations? Don’t hesitate to contact us, we’ll be happy to help!