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Crowning Glory: Keep Crowns Clean So They Last Longer

Dental crowns, also known as caps, cover existing teeth to make them look and function like other healthy teeth. While crowns can be used for cosmetic purposes to improve the appearance of your smile, they can also strengthen and protect your teeth. Here are some reasons your dentist may recommend a crown:

  • You have a cracked tooth. Crowns cover the crack to prevent further damage.

  • You need a large filling, but there isn’t enough of the tooth remaining to support a filling.

  • You have weak teeth that need protection from breaking.

  • You need a dental implant. When you have an implant, a screw is placed into the jawbone and supports a crown at its end so that it functions and looks like a normal tooth.

A crown usually lasts five to eight years, but caring properly for your crown can make it last much longer. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Avoid chewing hard foods and ice that can break a porcelain crown.

  • Take steps to avoid grinding your teeth. Talk with your dentist if you know that you have this habit.

  • Maintain good oral hygiene such as brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and seeing your dentist twice a year.

  • Floss or use interdental cleaners. These are sticks, picks, or brushes that clean between teeth like floss. They are designed to remove plaque, a naturally occurring, invisible film of sticky bacteria, from the area where the gum meets the tooth. Plaque that accumulates in this region can lead to gum disease and decay around the crown.

“ADA Seal of Acceptance: Floss and Other Interdental Cleaners.” American Dental Association. http://www.ada.org/1318.aspx. Accessed 2013.

“Dental Implants.” American Academy of Periodontology. http://www.perio.org/consumer/dental-implants. Accessed 2013.

“What Are Crowns?” Academy of General Dentistry, January 2012. http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=w&iid=300&aid=1202. Accessed 2013.

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