5 Bad Habits That Might Damage Your New Dental Crown

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It can be frustrating to deal with a painful dental fracture or a tooth that has been ravaged by decay. To keep infections from spreading and to alleviate your pain, your dentist might drill away damaged areas and top that old tooth with a crown to make it strong and beautiful again. However, if your original tooth was damaged because of one of your everyday tendencies, you might end up with the same problems later. Here are five bad habits that might damage your new crown, and why you should make an effort to change your ways.

1: Eating the Wrong Foods

Your dentist will use special dental cement to secure your new crown to your tooth. Unfortunately, this adhesive takes several hours to harden and cure, so your dentist will probably recommend avoiding sticky foods for at least a day or so after your procedure to keep your crown in place. However, chewing hard foods such as ice, hard candy, and nuts could chip or fracture your crown, even after the cement has set. If you love to munch away on sunflower seeds or adore chewing on ice, consider kicking the habit to avoid permanently damaging your dental repair.

2: Failure to Brush and Floss Properly

Because your new crown is a strong, sturdy structure that protects your once-damaged tooth, you might make the mistake of thinking that your new tooth is immune to problems. Unfortunately, the area near your gum line can still accumulate plaque, harbor bacteria, and develop painful cavities.

To keep your crown and the underlying tooth in good condition, continue to brush and floss as your dentist recommends. When you floss the area around your crown, run the string down and pull the floss out of the side area between your teeth, instead of lifting the floss straight up and out. Flossing this way might keep you from unintentionally pulling off your own crown.

3: Using Your Teeth Like a Multi-Tool

It might seem like a hassle to grab a pair of scissors or fiddle with that uncooperative package for a little longer, but it might actually save your teeth. When you use your teeth like a multi-tool, you might end up biting things much harder than you should, which can put undue pressure on weak surfaces. To avoid chipping your dental crowns or surrounding teeth, take the time to grab some scissors or other tools instead of diving in headfirst.  

4: Smoking

Everyone knows that smoking is an addictive and hard-to-kick habit, but most people don't realize how damaging it can be on your teeth. In addition to limiting crucial blood flow to your teeth, gums, and jawbone, smoking can actually make you  six times more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers are. Unfortunately, if you have a crown installed to cover up a heavily damaged or tar-stained tooth, the entire structure could fall out if you don't decide to quit smoking.

Gum disease can cause your jawbone to shrink and contract, which can make your teeth loose. If you want to protect your new investment, make an effort to stop smoking. Not only will you be able to keep that tooth in place, but you might also be able to keep it clean and white. 

5: Grinding Your Teeth

Does your spouse complain about you grinding your teeth in the middle of the night? Although you might be tempted to ignore the problem, the fact of the matter is that it could lead to serious dental fractures that need to be repaired with crowns. Unfortunately, even the strongest crowns can be damaged if you don't do something to resolve the underlying cause of the problem. If you suspect that you grind your teeth, discuss the issue with your dentist. He or she might recommend wearing a custom mouth guard while you sleep to protect your teeth from impact.  

Understanding the everyday bad habits that might damage your new crown might help you to keep that new tooth pristine and functional for many years to come.

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