Cosmetic dentistry: how to care for your dental crown

Hygienist at Bupa UK
26 October 2016

A crown is also sometimes called a cap. It fits over a damaged tooth and looks just like a natural tooth.There’s often a misconception that cosmetic dentistry treatments, such as dental crowns, don’t need the same care and attention as natural teeth. But this isn’t the case! You need to care for your dental crowns just as you would your normal teeth.

Lady smiling

Bacterial plaque can build up on all surfaces in your mouth and particularly around dental crown margins – this is where the crown meets your gum line. To remove bacterial plaque and keep your mouth healthy, it’s important to be thorough when you clean your teeth and gums. This’ll help prevent gingivitis (inflammation and bleeding from your gums) and periodontal disease (destruction of the bone that supports your teeth).

There’s lots of tools to choose from to help keep your – yet even choosing a basic toothbrush can be bewildering. And with cosmetic dentistry, you need the right tools to prevent any teeth or gum problems. So here is my guide to keep your dental crowns healthy and in great condition.

Toothbrushes

Carefully clean around the margins of the crowns to protect the area where the crown meets the gum. If you don’t, your gum may recede which will not only look unsightly, it may expose sensitive dentine. This is the part of the tooth that covers the nerve.

Manual tooth brushes

  • Choose a toothbrush with a small compact head which will help you get to those hard to reach areas.
  • Your toothbrush should have soft to medium filaments which will be gentle on your teeth and gums.
  • Place the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle towards the gum line – a small circular movement will remove the plaque.
  • You may find it easier to adopt a ‘roll’ technique. This is where you sweep the brush down from the gum area to the tip of the tooth (almost as if you are brushing the gum over the tooth).
  • At the front of your mouth, it may be helpful if you hold the brush upright.
  • You should find that the biting surfaces of your teeth are easier to scrub because they aren’t in contact with delicate gum tissue.
  • Brushing your teeth with a manual toothbrush should take about three minutes.

Electric toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes are very popular today, but there is a confusing amount of models to choose from. Personally, I recommend an electric toothbrush with a small oscillating round head as these are very easy to use. These are good because the brush moves one way then the other repeatedly in a steady rhythm. You place the brush on each surface of the tooth at a 45 degree angle for around five seconds. It takes two minutes to complete the whole of your mouth.

Remember to replace your toothbrush every three months, or sooner if the filaments begin to look splayed or worn out. Remember a worn toothbrush won’t work very well.

How to floss your crowns

Interdental cleaning and flossing

As well as brushing your teeth, adopt a daily interdental cleaning routine too. This is how you can remove plaque and impacted food from in between your teeth, often where your toothbrush will not reach. Floss and interdental brushes (these look like tiny bottle brushes) are both effective ways of removing plaque. Whichever one you go for, do it at least once a day.

I find a lot of people prefer to use interdental brushes because they are quick and easy, but flossing, although less popular, is ideal for cleaning between crowns. This is because the interdental brushes can’t get between the tiny gaps between your teeth. You can also use a single tufted brush to remove remaining plaque from between your teeth.

To make sure you’re flossing correctly, follow these tips.

  • Take the floss (always remember to curve it around your middle fingers so that the index finger and thumb can help guide the floss).
  • Make sure there is an inch of floss between your fingers.
  • Pull taut and curve the floss around your tooth with a ‘c’ shape action. Gently slide it up and down the side of the tooth, edging into the gum as far as the gum will allow.
  • Repeat on the other side of the adjoining tooth.
  • Use a fresh section of floss for each gap.
  • It helps if you look in the mirror when you floss!

Julia Wilson
Hygienist at Bupa UK

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