Modern science has allowed the restoration and aesthetic improvement of many dental issues, but once you get a crown or filling, you need to take special care of it to help it last. Most of these cosmetic works don't last forever and will eventually need repairs or replacements, but by taking good care of them you can help them last longer as well as ensure the good health of the teeth beneath them.
Keep Your Fillings Clean
If you had a filling to cover up a cavity, you might think that since the cavity is filled, you're no longer in danger. While your tooth is certainly in better shape, you need to take extra care of the filling area specifically. This is because the rest of your tooth can still decay. This will weaken the seal of your filling and allow decay to start spreading again.
To help avoid this, make sure that your toothpaste has fluoride, and make sure that you're covering every part of your tooth down to the gumline. Instead of scrubbing hard – which can also end up causing damage – just be thorough, and shoot for three brushings a day.
Floss First, Brush Next
If you're dedicated to dental hygiene you probably keep up with your flossing. If you have a habit of flossing after you brush, though, you might want to change that habit.
When you floss first, you open up the spaces between your teeth that were previously blocked with food and other gunk. Subsequently, when you brush your teeth after you floss, the toothpaste and the fluoride within can reach the areas of your teeth it couldn't previously. This is vital for preventing decay, which can occur in between your teeth even if you brush consistently.
Watch Your Diet
Since crowns, bridges and fillings are artificial attachments, there's always the chance they can come loose or fall out. Because of that you'll need to be careful of the things you eat and chew.
- Stay away from too many sugary foods. The occasional treat is okay, but constant sugar can make decay start much more quickly.
- Avoid sticky, gummy foods and treats like caramel. If any of your dental work or teeth are weakened at all, sticky substances can pull crowns and fillings right off. Depending on where your crowns or fillings are – such as the top surface of your teeth – you may want to avoid chewing gum as well.
Avoid Unhealthy Jaw Habits
Believe it or not, but depending on some of your habits, you could be doing harm to your restorative dental work. If your jaw is tense, you're constantly putting pressure on your artificial dental work that can cause it to crack or come loose. Try to get into the habit of keeping your jaw relaxed during the day without your teeth touching.
If you grind your teeth at night, use a mouth guard from your cosmetic dentist while you sleep. You may not always know if you do this or not, but some signs of nighttime tooth grinding involve pain in your jaw, tingling in your temples and headaches.