Crowns are those wonderful things that cap off a root canal and mimic the natural surface of your tooth in both look and feel. Your first crown is usually temporary, and will be replaced shortly with a permanent crown that specially fitted to your tooth. The permanent crown is designed to last many years, sometimes even a lifetime. Both temporary and permanent crowns require proper care to avoid premature loss.
Unlike a permanent crown, a temporary crown isn't fit snugly to your tooth. This means it can pull off easily, or that food can slide beneath it. It's primary purpose is to protect the exposed root canal site until your permanent crown is made. The following tips can help you keep your temporary crown in good condition for the few days that you must live with it.
Avoid sticky food. Chewing gum, caramels or other chewy candy, and other chewy or sticky foods can pull the crown off your tooth.
Skip hard food. Hard foods can also knock a temporary crown loose. This includes popcorn because of the hard popcorn kernels, and raw vegetables like carrot sticks.
Shift your chewing side. You can avoid most temporary crown problems by chewing on the other side of your mouth until your permanent crown is placed.
Change your flossing routine. There's no need to skip flossing while wearing a temporary crown–it's still a vital part of healthy tooth and gum care. Simply slide the floss out from between the teeth with the crown instead of lift it up and out. Lifting the floss up could pop off a loose temporary crown.
Your dentist will likely try to get your permanent crown on within a few days to a couple of weeks, since loose-fitting temporary crowns often don't survive long. Once you have your permanent crown, you can begin switching back to your normal eating and dental care habits.
Generally, you will want to be cautious with your permanent crown for the first day or two as the cement cures. Continue to treat it as you would a temporary crown during this time. Once the crown is completely cured, you can resume normal flossing, although you may still want to be careful when eating sticky foods like caramels. It's a good idea to continue to chew these on the side of the mouth that doesn't have a crown.
If you have questions about caring for your crown, or concerns after it's been placed, don't hesitate to bring these up with a dentist (such as Willowdaile Family Dentistry).