Patient Home Care Following Crown or Bridge Appointment
If you have had anesthetic, please be careful not to bite your tongue or the inside of your cheeks. Avoid eating chewy foods until the numbness has worn off. It is important that the temporary crown (or bridge) stay in place until the permanent crown is placed. If the temporary crown becomes dislodged or feels uncomfortable, please call us so that we may see you as soon as possible. Do not attempt to “glue” the temporary crown back in yourself, or “go without it”, as the teeth may become sensitive or shift slightly preventing the placement of the permanent crown (or bridge). You can use a denture adhesive, like Fixodent, to temporarily hold the crown (or bridge) until you can be seen in our office. Some cold sensitivity and tenderness around the gum is normal for the first few days.
Avoid: Avoid chewing anything very hard or sticky on the temporary crown (or bridge). Examples to avoid: gum, hard crusty bread, taffy, or hard candy.
Brush as usual, but floss with care. When flossing, remove floss from the side of the tooth. It is important to brush to keep the gum tissue as clean as possible. Remember, we are happy to see you to check the temporary crown if you have any questions prior to placement of the permanent crown (or bridge).
Long Term Care of Your New Crown or Bridge
Now that your crown or bridge has been cemented, there are a few things to expect. Initially, you may experience some sensitivity to cold because the tooth may be slightly irritated by the cement. Sensitivity toothpaste (Pronamel by Sensodyne or Crest for Sensitive teeth) generally helps. Also, if after a couple of days your “bite” seems off, or it just doesn’t feel normal, please call our office for a slight adjustment. It is extremely important to maintain excellent oral hygiene with your new crown or bridge. Some people have the misconception that a crowned tooth no longer needs to be maintained. That is simply not true. Crowns and bridges are still susceptible to decay near the gumline, the same as a natural tooth.
The crown strengthens the portion of the tooth above the gumline, but this margin area requires special care. Normal brushing and flossing is a must. Additional use of fluoride rinse (Act or Flurogard) and a high fluoride content toothpaste or gel (Prevident 5000 or Gel Kam) are excellent for preventing additional root decay. These additional aids are extremely important for patients with a high decay rate and/or a history of periodontal disease.
Most all crowns and bridges have a ceramic outer layer or are all ceramic. These materials are very strong and color stable, but they still have potential to fracture the same as a natural tooth. As a rule of thumb, don’t do anything with a crown or bridge that could damage a natural tooth. DO NOT CHEW ICE! The extreme temperature change greatly increases the fracture of porcelain and natural teeth.
Fixed bridges require additional cleaning under the pontic (missing tooth). Since this “fake tooth” is connected to the adjacent teeth, a floss threader is used to thread floss under it to remove plaque. These are readily available at most pharmacies. We would be happy to demonstrate how to use them.