painful dental crown when brushing teeth

Is My Dental Crown Going Bad?

Most people don’t think about their dental crown once it is in place, unless you notice a problem like pain, irritation, or looseness of the restoration. If experience any concerns with a new or old dental crown, contact Walnut Pond Dental office, in Clinton, at (908) 200-7007 and schedule a consultation today.

What is a dental crown?

A dental crown is a restoration, usually made of porcelain or ceramic, though it can be made of porcelain fused to metal, precious metal, or zirconia. A restorative crown is placed over a damaged tooth to improve structural integrity and oral health. Teeth that require restorative crowns may be cracked, badly worn, or have a large, failing filling. A crown can also improve the appearance of a tooth, in cosmetic dentistry, or complete an implant, for restorative dentistry. To hold a bridge securely in place, dental crowns are molded onto one or both ends of the appliance.

When placing a restorative dental crown, Dr. Uryniak or Dr. Ferris-Zeolla will reshape the affected tooth and take dental impressions of both the prepared tooth and opposing teeth. A temporary crown is secured to the tooth, so the patient can go about normal daily life while a ceramist crafts the permanent restoration in a dental lab. Once our office receives the final restoration, the patient comes in for placement. The dentist removes the temporary and securely adheres the permanent dental crown to the affected tooth. She then checks the patient’s bite, or occlusion, to make certain that upper and lower teeth fit together well when the mouth is closed.

How long will a dental crown last?

A dental crown can last anywhere from 5-30 years.  The lifespan depends on a variety of factors, such as the type and location of the crown and how well it is maintained. If you follow Dr. Uryniak’s or Dr. Ferris-Zeolla’s instructions, it should last several years, but if your crown cracks, chips, or otherwise fails, it will need to be replaced. If for any reason it becomes dislodged, we may only need to reseat and recement it.

Why does a dental crown go bad?

A dental crown is made of strong, durable materials, but that doesn’t mean the tooth is protected from cavities. If plaque builds up along the base of bacteria can access the underlying tooth and cause a cavity beneath the crown.

When a person’s upper and lower teeth do not fit together properly, bruxism (teeth grinding) or TMJ disorder can develop. Oftentimes, grinding teeth occurs during sleep, so you may not be aware of the bad habit until your dentist notices dental damage. Constant pressure of clenching and grinding teeth can cause tooth wear, breakage, and tiny stress fractures called crazing. All of these issues can destroy a crown’s structural integrity.

You may also have to break a bad habit to make your crown last longer. Nail biting, teeth grinding, ice chomping, and using your teeth as scissors can lead to unnecessary wear and tear on your crown. Your crown can crack or break from the pressure of these activities, or even from accidentally biting down hard on a metal fork or hard seed. A hairline crack in a crown is enough to allow cavity-causing bacteria to damage the tooth.

A crown can become loose if the cement starts to dissolve. Alcohol-based mouthwash or alcoholic drinks can cause problems with the cement, over time.

How can I prevent my dental crown from going bad?

No one can guarantee that your crown won’t fail or become damaged. However, there are some simple steps you can take to prevent some of the most common problems.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Floss daily, paying special attention to the gumline
  • Avoid sticky and hard foods
  • Do not chew eat ice or hard candies
  • Visit Walnut Pond Dental twice a year for cleanings and monitoring of the crown
  • If you grind your teeth, wear a nightguard
  • Follow specific instructions provided by Dr. Uryniak or Dr. Ferris-Zeolla

What are the signs and symptoms of a bad dental crown?

  • Sensitivity to heat, cold, or air
  • Irregular bite (your crown feels higher or lower than other teeth when you close your mouth)
  • Pain or tenderness when chewing
  • Red, tender, or bloody gums
  • Loose crown
  • Bad breath, even after brushing

What’s next?

Treatment for a bad crown depends on the underlying issue. If the crown is broken or cracked, it may need replacement. The location of a cavity will dictate the course of treatment. A loose crown can typically be reattached with cement, in which case replacement is unnecessary. When you visit our office for a suspect crown Dr. Uryniak or Dr. Ferris-Zeolla will examine your crown, take x-rays as needed, and determine a treatment plan. To make an appointment, call Walnut Pond Dental in North Annandale, NJ at (908) 200-7007 today.