Dental crowns are the most effective means of restoring a damaged tooth. You can get dental crowns for cosmetic or restorative purposes. Patients often get tooth crowns for cosmetic purposes to cover up or conceal a tooth that’s badly chipped, crooked, stained, or discoloured. The tooth crown essentially covers up all the surface deformities and irregularities to provide a flawless appearance.
Dental crowns are also placed for restorative reasons. A tooth that’s badly damaged or cracked may need a dental crown to preserve its structural integrity. You may also need a dental crown after a root canal to protect the weakened tooth. As such, dental crowns serve multiple purposes, making them some of the most common prosthetic options for dental restoration.
The dental crown placement process goes through multiple stages:
- The dentist must take accurate impressions or a scan of your teeth and prepare your existing tooth.
- The dentist places a temporary crown to protect your weakened tooth while the permanent crown is prepared.
- The dentist provides the permanent crown on the final visit.
Generally speaking, you have to be far more careful with what you eat immediately after the crown placement and with temporary crowns. Permanent crowns act like natural teeth, so they’re capable of withstanding strong bite forces, but you should still be cautious and avoid certain foods to ensure the crown’s longevity.
Foods and Drinks to Avoid with Temporary Crowns
- Nuts: You should avoid nuts until you have permanent crowns that have properly bonded with your teeth. Even though nuts are generally healthy and protein-rich, they’re hard and may damage temporary crowns due to the high bite force necessary.
- Crunchy Vegetables: You must avoid fresh and crunchy vegetables until your permanent crown has properly set in place. When you have temporary crowns, you must boil your vegetables until they’re soft.
- Cold Foods: You should avoid extremely cold foods directly after a temporary crown placement because your teeth may be sensitive to extreme temperatures. Patients with exposed gums may also have visible roots that cause significant pain and discomfort. If you’re experiencing sensitivity, you must use a special toothpaste for sensitive teeth — these toothpaste numb sensations in your teeth to minimise pain and discomfort.
- Popcorn: You must avoid popcorns after getting temporary crowns because they can get stuck between your teeth or under your crowns. As such, eating popcorn increases the risk of damaging the temporary crown or the tooth underneath the crown.
- Steak: You must avoid eating steak and other hard meats because they’re chewy and harder to bite than softer proteins. As such, you should avoid steak until you get your permanent crowns — temporary crowns aren’t strong enough to handle such a bite force.
Foods and Drinks to Avoid with Permanent Crowns
- Sticky Foods: You should avoid sticky foods, like caramel and candies, whether you have temporary crowns on front teeth, permanent crowns, or even natural teeth. Most sticky foods are high in sugar content, increasing their affinity to bacteria. They also stick to your tooth’s surface, leading to a fast higher risk of dental decay and cavities.
- Fizzy Drinks: You should avoid fizzy drinks and pop, including Cola, in all situations — temporary crowns, permanent crowns, and natural teeth. Cola products and fizzy drinks have high sugar content and other components that lead to enamel erosion, crown erosion, and an increased risk of cavities.
- Chewing Gum: You should avoid chewing gums because they stick to your crown, increasing the risk of bacterial accumulation. If you chew gum to freshen your breath, you should instead switch to using mouthwash.
- Raisins & Dried Fruits: Unsweetened raisins and dried fruits are generally healthy for most people. However, they’re also sticky and hard, with a higher likelihood of sticking to the contours of your teeth. You should avoid raisins for a few days after getting permanent crowns because they can increase the risk of damage.
- Ice: You must avoid chewing on ice until your crown has bonded completely with your tooth. Chewing on ice too early may damage the crown. If your tooth is sensitive after the crown placement, chewing on ice may also cause severe pain and discomfort. Generally, we advise against chewing ice, whether you have a crown or not.
Temporary Crown vs. Permanent Crown
Temporary crowns on front teeth are placed over your teeth immediately after the dentist shaves your teeth down to a small stub. The temporary crown is prepared from an initial mould of your tooth, and it acts as a placeholder to protect your weakened tooth until you receive the final crown. Temporary crowns are made from weaker and cheaper materials, like acrylic, because they only need to last a few weeks.
Permanent crowns are the final crowns placed on your teeth. They’re carefully crafted and meant to last several years or decades. You receive the permanent crown on your second visit to the dentist — they remove the temporary crowns and place the permanent crown instead. Permanent crowns are made from ceramic, porcelain, resin, or porcelain-fused-to-metal materials.
Tips to Preserve Your Permanent Crown
- Avoid sticky and hard foods.
- Brush twice a day.
- Floss carefully between your teeth regularly.
- Rinse your mouth with an antibacterial wash.
- Stop smoking.
- Stop biting your nails, pencil nibs, ice, or other hard objects.
- Don’t open bottles with your teeth.
- Use a mouthguard while playing sports,
- Use a nightguard while sleeping if you are prone to teeth grinding.
- See the dentist regularly.
Dental crowns are supposed to look and function like actual teeth. However, you must take certain precautions with temporary crowns and immediately after getting your permanent crowns to protect them from damage. You should generally avoid hard, sticky, or crunchy foods that can dislodge or harm the crowns. After the permanent crown has bonded perfectly with your teeth, you can resume your normal diet while also following all oral hygiene tips.