Dental crowns and bridges can restore your smile and even help you maintain your ability to chew, speak, and just be you. Because your crown or bridge is so important, you want to do everything possible to ensure its longevity.
Understanding Dental Crowns and Bridges
Dental crowns and bridges are common solutions for various dental issues. A dental crown is a 'cap' that looks like your natural tooth, which is placed over a damaged tooth to restore its size, shape, and strength. Dental bridges, on the other hand, fill the gap created by one or more missing teeth by bridging the gap between two anchoring teeth.
While crowns and bridges mimic natural teeth closely, there are some significant differences. And you should treat your crowns and bridges with special care.
Temporary vs. Permanent Crowns
Your dentist will likely give you a temporary crown before fitting a permanent one. A temporary crown protects your prepared tooth while your custom permanent crown is fabricated for you. It helps to understand the differences in care for temporary versus permanent crowns so you know how to care for them and avoid potential issues.
- Temporary Crowns: Temporary crowns are less sturdy than permanent ones, as they are meant to be easily removed. These crowns are more vulnerable to damage, so you must be especially cautious about the foods you consume.
- Permanent Crowns: Permanent crowns are more durable, as they are usually made from stronger materials such as porcelain and are fixed with permanent cement. While they are designed to withstand most foods, some can still pose a threat to their longevity.
Foods to Avoid
Permanent crowns and bridges are tough and mimic your natural teeth. In fact, the types of foods you want to avoid are the same as those you should enjoy only in moderation for healthy natural teeth.
Anything with Lots of Sugar
High-sugar foods and beverages can lead to tooth decay, which can impact not only your remaining natural teeth but also the tooth underneath your crown or bridge. Candy, cookies, soda, and even some fruits are just a few culprits to limit in your diet.
Taffy, gum, caramel—these are enemies of your dental restorations. Sticky foods can adhere to your crown or bridge and even dislodge them, leading to uncomfortable and potentially damaging situations.
Sticky foods aren't a great choice in general, especially if they are also sugary. The sticky nature of some foods means sugar stays on the surface of teeth and can result in decay.
Biting down on hard foods can exert too much pressure on crowns or bridges, possibly leading to cracks or breaks. Ice, nuts, hard candies, and even some crunchy fruits and vegetables should be approached with caution. If you can't resist a crunchy snack, try cutting it into smaller pieces before eating.
Avoid Chewing on Non-food Items
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how often we subconsciously chew on non-food items like pens, pencils, or fingernails. Such habits can place unnecessary stress on your dental work, as well as natural teeth, and potentially damage them.
Diet and Your Dental Health
While the list of foods to avoid may seem like a lot, remember that the goal is to maintain the longevity of your crowns or bridges and, more importantly, your overall oral health. It's not all about avoiding specific foods; incorporating a balanced diet rich in lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products can help promote healthy teeth and gums.
If you have further questions about maintaining your dental crowns or bridges, or any other concerns about your dental health, don't hesitate to reach out to our office.