If you’re the recent recipient of one or more new dental crowns, chances are you have many questions regarding the best way to maintain them. While our cosmetic dentist has probably already gone over many of the basics with you, one frequent point of confusion is whether they are easily stained.
Crowning is a popular method of tooth restoration. It involves the use of a small cap, or crown, designed to emulate the look of a real, natural tooth. The fractured or damage tooth is cleaned and filed down to allow the incoming replacement to fit snugly in its place. After being reshaped, a physical impression is taken and sent to a dental lab, where the cradle of the crown will be customized. At that point, an appropriate false tooth will be sculpted out of ceramic and fired in a kiln. In two to three weeks, you’ll be brought back into the office and the crown will be tested against your bite, adjusted, aligned, and affixed permanently in place. You may be given a temporary crown to protect the raw, exposed original in the meantime.
Porcelain is generally regarded as the best material to use in tooth restoration, especially in places where the replacement will be seen easily. Unlike composite resin, porcelain is quite resistant to damage and discoloration. However, there are many ways in which your new porcelain crowns can acquire an undesirable cast. Overly abrasive toothpaste, for example, can erode the surface of the crown in a way that is incongruous with real teeth that surround it. Cigarettes, acidic foods and beverages, excessive vomiting, and other such environmental factors can contribute to this process significantly.
Unfortunately, bleaching and other traditional whitening methods are not effective on porcelain; in fact, attempting to whiten them will probably set the off-color crown even more at odds with the surrounding teeth as they respond to treatment and the fake one does not. Porcelain dental fixtures, however, are more expensive for a reason: out of all the options available to you, porcelain is the one that is most resistant to both damage and staining. Avoiding habits that can stain your crowns is always the best preventative measure. Aging and normal wear and tear can still cause porcelain crowns to lose their luster over time and even become damaged. In instances like this, our dentist will need to clean them professionally and in some cases even replace them entirely.