Dental Crown or Bridge Post-Care & FAQs

What you should know before your crown/bridge:


1.) Lucky for you, we’re a CEREC office: Our office is happy to offer the newest & best technology.  Because of this, we utilize CEREC 3D scanning & milling for almost all or our crown/bridge work.

  • What does this mean to you? In the cases where CEREC is used…
    • Our doctors have full control of your case including custom design & shading while you’re in our chair.
    • No messy, yucky impressions or temporary crowns.
      • Bridgework may require a temporary, but crowns RARELY do!
    • No second appt for crown delivery, although the initial appt may be a little longer since we’ll be doing ALL the work that day.  
      • For a crown, plan to be in our chair a couple hours at least.  Bridgework can take much longer depending on the case & may require a second appt.  You won’t be laid back, mouth wide-open the full appt since some of the appt will revolve around the design, milling, & shading of your crown, so bring something you enjoy to read, that work you’ve been trying to catch up on, or some headphones so you can lay back in our massaging chair & rest your eyes (we’ll even dim the lights for you) all while you’re enjoying your own tunes.

2.) Let’s talk money: Since payment for treatment rendered is due upon appt dismissal, we like to be very transparent about the financials for the convenience of our patients.  

Most dental insurances cover 50% of a crown/bridge procedure if you haven’t reached your annual max. We always supply a treatment plan with an estimate of your portion, but this is just an estimate.  Ultimately it is your responsibility to reach out to your insurance company if you require exact figures.  You can contact them with the code(s) provided in your treatment plan to gather that information.

If you do not have dental coverage, consider joining our Tooth Booth Smile Plan which covers preventative care (exams, cleanings, fluoride, xrays) at 100% & restorative care (fillings, root canals, crowns, bridges) at 20% for the year with no annual max.  Click here to learn more about our Smile Plan.  

We also accept Care Credit if you’re looking for a convenient payment plan for your treatment.

3.) Consider whitening your smile first: If your crown or bridge is in an area visible with smiling, it is always suggested that you consider a professional smile whitening prior to your treatment if at all possible since the crown/bridge will be matched to your existing tooth shade.  No we will not make the restoration “a little lighter because [you] plan on whitening later.”  There is no way to guess at a future tooth shade.   

4.) Understand that if a crown is being suggested for your tooth, it’s because your tooth has too much damage to just “be filled” whether from a crack, fracture, wear, or decay.  Because of this, you should also understand that if the tooth is damaged enough to need a crown, then you should also observe it for eventual signs of nerve damage.  Teeth with large restorations (whether it’s a crown or a large filling) or recurrent decay are teeth that are at eventual risk for infection requiring root canal therapy or extraction to address the level of damage.  It’s not that every filled/crowned tooth will always become infected, it’s just that these teeth are more susceptible.  The bigger the filling, the bigger the chances.  Since crowns are suggested for THE BIGGEST fillings, it’s important to point out the correlation so you can understand what your dentist already knows and is watching.  Enter regular comprehensive care to try and prevent these situations!

5.)  Some people falsely believe that a tooth that is crowned cannot get a cavity ever again.  Teeth that are filled or crowned can become decayed at the margins of the restorations.  The only teeth that can’t decay are false teeth, but they can’t chew very effectively either so it’s definitely not worth the trade off.  Regular comprehensive care   is even more crucial for patients with restorations.  

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Post-Care Instructions:


  • The first 48 hours is the most important in post-care, and here’s why: the cement used under your new crown is activated in our office, however it can take up to 48 hours for the cement to fully harden. Because of this, you should avoid eating any sticky or hard foods in the area of your new crown or bridge for the first 48 hours.  You should also avoid “pulling down” your floss around your new crown for the first 2 days.  Glide it down and pull it through instead.  
  • When local anesthesia is used, your lips, teeth & tongue may be numb for several hours after your appt. Avoid eating for 2-4 hours after your appt in anaesthetised, or until your numbing wears completely off to prevent injuring your cheeks, lips, or tongue.
  • The gum tissue around your tooth may be irritated after your new crown for several days. This is normal.  You can rinse with warm salt water (1 tsp. salt/1 cup water) 2-3x a day to promote healing, prevent swelling, & soothe irritation.
  • It is normal to experience soreness after your crown and dental injections. If needed, you can take acetaminophen (Tylenol) and rotate every 4 hours with ibuprofen (Motrin) if there’s no personal contraindications to these medications. Soreness should improve within 2 week.
  • Sensitivity to hot, cold, or biting is normal after a new crown. Sensitivity should improve within 2 weeks. If symptoms persist or worsen, contact our office by phone.

Caring for your crown or bridge long-term:


  • Your new normal:
A crown/bridge replaces large portions of diseased or broken tooth structure.  So, once a tooth is crowned, you should be cautious in how you use it.  

 

    • Do not chew ice or very hard objects as this may break or chip your crown/bridge.
    • Avoid chewing very sticky foods because it can remove your crown/bridge or even fillings.
    • Do not used your crown/bridge (or your natural teeth for that matter) to open or hold items.  Your teeth are not tools!
  • Continuing Care:
Because you wouldn’t buy a Range Rover & never change the oil!!!
    • Brush & floss at least 2x daily. 
    • It is HIGHLY encouraged that those with crown/bridge work use a professional level electric brush & Waterpik.  We carry both in our office for your convenience, and can give you all the necessary forms to file each with your HSA/FSA.
    • Visit us at regular intervals (every 6 months for patients on regular dental maintenance OR ever3-4 months for those patients on periodontal maintenance or as directed bye Dr. Hughes & team). Often problems that are developing around restorations can be found at an early stage & corrected easily. Inadequate return for examination is the most significant reason for failure.  
    • If your crown or bridge should break, become dislodged or experience recurrent decay in the first 24 months after placement, we will replace the crown/bridge at no charge to you IF YOU HAVE KEPT UP WITH REGULAR CARE AS OUTLINED ABOVE.  **It should be noted that if a root canal and/or post treatment is required in addition to previous crown work in this timeframe, the patient will be responsible for the added work, but not the replacement of the crown.
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