Dental Crown, Inlay Or Onlay
The tooth that supports a dental onlay / crown is never as strong or easy to clean as a completely intact tooth. Proper care is needed to ensure this device provides you long trouble free service. The following information may help you take care of your new dental crown / onlay.
IMMEDIATELY AFTER PLACEMENT
- Take care not to damage areas of your mouth that remain numb. Don’t eat or drink anything too hot until sensation completely returns.
- There may be initial sensitivity of the supporting tooth to hot or cold. This should resolve by itself. If the tooth involved slowly becoming more sensitive, or a little tender to bite on, please give us a call. It’s likely that the crown biting surface needs a simple adjustment.
- It can take a little while to get used to the feel of a new crown in your mouth. Sometimes your tongue may get in the way and be bitten, but it will soon learn to stay out of the way. In the mean time you may have to take a little care and eat more slowly.
ORAL HYGIENE MEASURES
- While the surface of a crown / onlay is highly polished and glazed to prevent plaque build up or staining, it has a weak spot – the ‘margins’. The margin of a crown / onlay is where it meets the tooth surface. We try our utmost to ensure this junction is as close fitting as possible to allow for good daily maintenance. However, at a microscopic level, this area is not smooth and therefore it requires particular attention during cleaning.
- It is preferable to use an electric toothbrush to maintain a bridge.
- Floss or interdental brushes should be used to clean between the teeth at either side of the crown / onlay.
- Floss threaders or water flosser can be used to pass floss underneath the false tooth of a bridge to allow cleaning in this area
CONTROLLING BITE FORCES
- Hard biting, clenching or grinding will hasten damage to the crown / onlay and force its early replacement. Sometimes, clenching or grinding will occur during the day, particularly during stressful periods of your life. Some sports or exercise (eg. weightlifting) can cause heavy clenching. Most people who grind or clench do so at night while asleep, and if this is suspected, an ‘Occlusal Splint’ should be considered.
- Beware of habits that may place undue stress on the porcelain. Although very strong, porcelain can chip, particularly if it comes up against a similarly hard and brittle object. Chewing on very hard foods (like bones, stone fruit pips, crab shells and ice) should be avoided. Chewing on pens or fingernails will also lead to damage as will using the bridge as a tool (eg opening bottles, cracking nuts).
The average crown / onlay should last from 10 – 15 years (depending on local forces and materials used). As with your natural teeth, the longevity of a crown / onlay depends on good daily dental care. Its life expectancy will also increase with regular continuing care appointments.