Cleaning Dental Crowns at Home Made Easy: The Ultimate DIY Guide

Cleaning Dental Crowns at Home Made Easy: The Ultimate DIY Guide By Dr. Jon ( Junyi ) Ho | September 20, 2023

A brilliant smile says so much about you, and if you have dental crowns, you know how significant they are in achieving that bright smile. But the journey doesn’t stop after crown placement; a crucial part of having crowns is knowing how to care for them right from the comfort of your home.

This blog post revolves around cleaning dental crowns at home. Because even though crowns are artificial teeth, they still need genuine care. A good dental hygiene routine keeps your crowns clean and shining, helps preserve their appearance and supports your overall oral health.

We’ll explore the nitty-gritty of dental crown care, focusing on the various techniques, the dos and don’ts, and the how-tos. When it comes to dental crown care, good oral hygiene involves a combination of regular cleaning and knowledge to promote a healthy and happy mouth.

Summary of the Content:

  • Dental crowns require a dedicated hygiene routine to preserve their appearance and function, as well as the health of the underlying tooth.

  • Regular cleaning at home and professional check-ups form a strong foundation for maintaining dental crowns.

  • There are various types of dental crowns, each having its specific care requirements, resulting in personalised dental hygiene habits.

  • Proper cleaning, regular flossing, a mindful diet, and careful chewing contribute to a prolonged dental crown lifespan.

  • Common errors in cleaning dental crowns include using hard-bristled toothbrushes, incorrect flossing technique, consuming staining food and beverages, and neglecting professional cleanings.

  • Using dental hygiene products such as soft-bristled toothbrushes, non-abrasive toothpaste, dental floss, fluoride rinse, and interdental brushes are safe and effective for cleaning dental crowns.

  • Professional help is needed when experiencing persistent pain, a loose crown, visible crown damage, changes in bite, recurring bad breath, gum inflammation, or crown discolouration.

  • Having a regular and effective cleaning routine is important for maintaining dental crown care and promoting oral health.

Understanding Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that fully encase a tooth or dental implant. Here are some of the common reasons why patients may need this dental appliance:

  • To repair damaged teeth or decayed teeth
  • To reinforce weak or compromised teeth, preventing them from further breakage
  • To address cosmetic issues like the alignment of a crooked tooth
  • To enhance the appearance of teeth that are discoloured or misshapen

Depending on the type of crown chosen, they can be made from a range of materials, including porcelain, ceramic, metal alloy or a mix of these. Each has unique benefits, and your dentist will advise on the most suitable choice depending on your oral health and aesthetic needs.

All-porcelain crowns or all-ceramic crowns mimic the translucency and colour of natural teeth, making them a popular choice for restoring the front teeth. Metal crowns, on the other hand, can be made from gold or other precious or non-precious metals. They are longer-lasting than other types of crowns and require less removal of tooth structure.

Regardless of your crown type, a dental crown treatment generally involves at least two visits to your dentist. The first visit involves the preparation of the tooth, impression taking, and the placement of a temporary crown. During the second visit, the temporary crown is replaced by the final dental crown after checking for precise fit and colour match.

The Importance of Dental Crown Maintenance

Darch Dental Centre

The importance of maintaining dental crowns cannot be overstressed. When you have a dental crown, the limelight is not only on the elegance of your newly enhanced smile—it’s also on the commitment to preserving that crown’s functionality and appeal.

Contrary to what one might think, dental crowns aren’t indestructible. They require a tailored hygiene routine to retain their shine and integrity and maintain the health of the tooth they encase.

Here are the key reasons why cleaning dental crowns at home is crucial:

  • Battle against plaque:
    Similar to natural teeth, dental crowns are susceptible to plaque, a sticky substance favoured by harmful bacteria. Bacteria in plaque can cause various health issues, including gum inflammation, bleeding, bad breath, and, in severe cases, periodontitis—an advanced form of gum disease that may result in tooth loss and systemic health problems.

  • Prevention of tooth decay:
    If dental crown care is neglected, it can lead to tooth decay, particularly at the junction where the crown meets the natural tooth. This can eventually cause discomfort and could necessitate further dental procedures.

  • To avoid crown dislodgement:
    Inadequate dental crown maintenance can cause the crown to loosen or fall off. The adhesive used in the dental crown procedure can weaken over time, especially if you frequently consume hard, sticky, or chewy foods. A dislodged crown is not just inconvenient—it also exposes the vulnerable underlying tooth structure.

The Do's and Don'ts of Dental Crown Care

Caring for your dental crowns doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Consistency and a proper cleaning technique are what’s needed to promote dental crown hygiene. Here are some guiding principles to help you care for your dental crown.

The ‘do’s’ of dental crown care:

  1. Adopt a regular cleaning regimen at home:
    A critical step in maintaining dental crowns is establishing a consistent cleaning routine at home. This includes brushing with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle toothbrush twice daily and daily flossing. While the dental crown is not susceptible to cavities, it is important to maintain good dental hygiene to preserve both the tooth and the crown.

  2. Incorporate mouthwash:
    Incorporating mouthwash into your routine can help in the maintenance of dental crown hygiene. An alcohol-free mouthwash can assist in eliminating bacteria around the crown, reducing the chances of gum disease and tooth decay.

  3. Regular dental check-ups:
    Biannual dental check-ups are crucial for dental crown maintenance. A dental professional can examine the state of your crowns, identify potential issues early, and advise on any additional treatments needed.

The ‘don’ts’ of dental crown care:

  1. Avoid hard foods:
    Chewing on hard foods can cause dental crowns to crack. It’s advisable to stick to softer foods, especially immediately after the placement of the crown.

  2. Don’t ignore dental discomfort:
    If you experience pain or discomfort around your crown, don’t ignore it. This could be a sign of a loose crown or an underlying dental issue that needs immediate attention.

  3. Don’t skip dental appointments:
    Regular dental visits are key to dental crown maintenance. Don’t skip your appointments; your dentist can provide professional care and spot any minor issues before they escalate.

A Guide to Cleaning Dental Crowns at Home

Taking care of your dental crowns requires a unique routine. Here’s a detailed guide to cleaning dental crowns at home to help you keep that beautiful smile gleaming for years to come.

  1. Regular brushing:
    Just like your natural teeth, dental crowns need regular brushing. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid scratches and damage to the crown’s surface.
  2. Effective flossing:
    Flossing is pivotal in maintaining your crowns. It helps remove food particles and plaque accumulating around the crown edges and your gum tissues. Use dental floss specially designed for crowns and dental bridges. Water flossers are also a good alternative option.
  3. Rinse with a fluoride mouthwash:
    After brushing and flossing, a rinse with fluoride mouthwash can provide an added layer of protection. Not only does it help reduce the bacterial plaque in your mouth, but it also supports dental health by strengthening your natural teeth against decay.
  4. Mind your diet:
    Consuming sugary treats can lead to increased plaque buildup. Eating hard and sticky food can put undue pressure on your crowns, causing them to chip over time or become dislodged. Also, extremely cold or hot food, as well as acidic food, can cause discomfort if your crowned tooth is sensitive.
  5. Use interdental brushes:
    These tiny brushes are handy for cleaning difficult-to-reach areas in the mouth. They’re particularly helpful in cleaning the space between the crown and the adjacent tooth.
  6. Regular check-ups:
    Scheduling regular dental checkups with your dentist is vital. This provides an opportunity for professional dental cleanings and for your dentist to check for any problems before they become serious.

Common Mistakes in Cleaning Dental Crowns

Cleaning dental crowns at home involves more than just brushing and flossing. In the quest for a clean and gleaming smile, some individuals make mistakes that can lead to lasting damage. Understanding these errors can help you care for your dental crown better.

  1. Using the wrong toothbrush:
    Many people make the mistake of using a regular or hard-bristled toothbrush on their crowns, which can cause scratches and wear on the crowns. To prevent this, opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush that cleans without causing damage.

  2. Ignoring the surrounding areas:
    Some individuals focus solely on the crowned tooth and neglect the rest of their teeth. Remember, maintaining good oral health includes cleaning the surrounding natural teeth and gums as well. A comprehensive oral hygiene routine is essential for maintaining the dental crown and overall oral health.

  3. Incorrect flossing:
    Flossing around dental crowns requires a specific technique. Pulling the floss straight up can cause the crown to loosen. To prevent this, gently move the floss side-to-side to remove food debris without causing harm.

  4. Consuming staining foods and beverages:
    While most crowns resist the majority of stains, consistent intake of these foods may cause colour changes over time.

  5. Skipping regular dental check-ups:
    Some individuals might think that once they have a crown, they don’t need to see the dentist for check-ups as frequently. Regular dental check-ups are crucial for maintaining your crowns’ health and overall oral hygiene. Your dentist can identify potential problems early and perform treatments if necessary.

  6. Eating the wrong foods:
    Hard, crunchy foods can cause damage to crowns over time, and sticky foods can dislodge them. Opt for soft foods and avoid anything that could potentially damage your crown.

  7. Neglecting professional cleanings:
    Dental crowns require professional cleanings to maintain their lustre and protect the underlying natural tooth structure. A professional cleaning can provide a smooth polish that home care cannot, making the crownless susceptible to plaque buildup.

  8. Not adapting your oral hygiene habits:
    Your dental hygiene habits should be adapted to accommodate your crowns. This means taking additional steps, such as using dental products designed for crowns, like non-abrasive toothpaste.

Products Safe for Cleaning Dental Crowns

Keeping your dental crowns well-maintained and looking their best involves using the right products. Here’s a list of some products that are safe for cleaning dental crowns at home:

  1. Soft-bristled toothbrush:
    It’s essential to use a toothbrush that won’t cause any damage to your crowns. A soft-bristled toothbrush is gentle on the crown and natural teeth, reducing the risk of scratches or wear.

  2. Non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste:
    Some toothpaste can be too harsh for dental crowns, leading to scratches and possible discolouration over time. A non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste is an excellent choice as it helps to keep the crown clean and shiny without causing any damage. Plus, fluoride helps protect the natural tooth underneath.

  3. Dental floss:
    Flossing is crucial to remove food particles between the teeth and around the crown. A waxed floss can glide easily around the crown without causing any damage.

  4. Fluoride rinse:
    A fluoride rinse can provide additional protection for your crowns and natural teeth. It helps to remove plaque and food particles that the toothbrush and floss might have missed while strengthening the natural teeth.

  5. Interdental brushes:
    These can clean hard-to-reach areas around the crown and between the teeth. They can help prevent plaque buildup and maintain gum health, an integral part of oral health care.

How to Prolong the Lifespan of Your Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are no small investment; you’d naturally want to get as much mileage out of them as possible. Proper cleaning and maintenance are key to maximising their lifespan and keeping your crown and the supporting tooth healthy for years. Here’s how you can extend the life of your dental crowns:

  1. Keep up with regular cleaning:
    Cleaning dental crowns at home is critical. Just like your natural teeth, crowns need consistent and proper care. Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Remember to be diligent in cleaning the area where your gum meets your crown, as it can easily accumulate plaque.

  2. Floss daily:
    Flossing isn’t just for your natural teeth. It’s just as important when it comes to dental crown maintenance. Regular flossing helps eliminate food particles and plaque between the teeth and around the crown, preventing tooth decay and gum disease.

  3. Avoid hard and sticky foods:
    While dental crowns are durable, they are not indestructible. Minimise your intake of hard and sticky foods to prevent potential damage to your crown. These foods can cause crowns to chip or become loose.

  4. Maintain regular dental appointments:
    Regular check-ups with your family dentist allow for early detection of potential issues with your crown. In addition, professional cleanings help remove stubborn plaque and tartar that regular brushing and flossing at home might miss.

  5. Use fluoride products:
    A fluoride rinse or fluoride toothpaste can add more protection to your teeth. Fluoride helps strengthen the teeth, combating decay and keeping your teeth and crowns in top condition.

  6. Watch out for bruxism:
    Consider talking to your dentist about a night guard if you grind your teeth at night. Grinding can cause significant wear and even fracture your crowns, not to mention your natural teeth.

When to Seek Professional Help

While maintaining a consistent routine in cleaning dental crowns at home is indispensable in prolonging their lifespan, there are instances when seeking professional help is the ideal course of action. Despite our efforts, there are some situations we cannot remedy at home. Here are a few signs indicating it might be time to schedule an appointment with your dentist:

  1. Persistent pain or discomfort:
    Dental crown care at home should not result in ongoing pain or discomfort. If you notice that you’re experiencing pain around your crown, especially when eating hot or cold foods, or if the sensitivity persists over an extended period, it’s time to make an appointment. Severe pain could indicate an infected tooth or a problem with the crown itself.

  2. Loose or dislodged crown:
    If your crown feels loose or comes off, don’t try to reattach it yourself. To assess the situation, your dentist must examine the crown and the underlying tooth. The crown could be loose due to normal wear or more extensive damage.

  3. Noticeable wear or damage:
    Dental crowns are durable but not impervious to everyday wear and tear, especially if you grind your teeth or regularly eat hard or sticky foods. Book a dentist appointment if you notice visible chips, cracks, or wear on your crown.

  4. Changes in bite or jaw alignment:
    If your bite feels off or your jaw alignment seems different, it could be caused by an issue with your crown. Over time, these restorations can shift, impacting your overall oral health.

  5. Recurring bad breath or an unpleasant taste:
    If you’re experiencing persistent bad breath or a constant bad taste in your mouth despite regular oral hygiene practices, there may be a buildup of food particles or plaque around the crown.

  6. Inflammation or bleeding gums:
    If the gums around your crown exhibit inflammation, redness, or easy bleeding, it may indicate gum disease, which is usually caused by plaque. While a soft toothbrush and careful flossing can help keep plaque at bay, seek professional advice for proper treatment.

  7. Discolouration or staining:
    If your crown starts discolouring or staining, your dentist can determine the cause and discuss possible management.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, dental crown hygiene at home might seem daunting, but with the right knowledge and techniques, it becomes a walk in the park. It’s about embracing a routine that leaves your crowns gleaming and supports your mouth’s overall health.

With proper dental crown care, you can maintain that beautiful and brighter smile and help prevent potential health issues down the road. Regular cleaning and monitoring of your crowns and consistent checkups form the foundation for successful long-term maintenance.

Always remember, looking after your dental crowns is crucial in maintaining your oral health and keeping that brilliant smile. And when it comes to professional dental care and advice, the friendly team at Darch Dental Clinic is here to help. Your gleaming smile is our greatest satisfaction. With our assistance, your journey to maintaining your dental crowns will be a smooth and rewarding experience.

Call our clinic today or book your appointment online.

Dr. Jon ( Junyi ) Ho

Dr. Jon is a Perth-based dentist who graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Science in 2005 from the University of Western Australia. He has worked at a range of dental practices, including being a partner and principal dentist for a group of five dental surgeries in Sydney. Dr. Jon has been practising for over a decade in the northern suburbs of Perth. He provides treatment for patients in Darch, Madeley, Landsdale, Kingsway, Kingsley, Marangaroo, Alexander Heights, Wangara, Ellenbrook, and others.

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