How Often Should You Have Your Crowns or Bridges Checked?

Crowns

What exactly are they—crowns and bridges? A crown is basically a “cap” that is placed over a weak, or damaged natural tooth, to protect it. It’s made of porcelain, metal or gold.

The natural tooth is ground and prepared to accept the new crown. And the crown is made so your bite is what it used to be with the natural tooth healthy.

Before getting the new crown, a temporary crown is placed over the ground down natural tooth, to extend temporary protection.

Bridges

A bridge is prepared when there is a missing tooth, or teeth. A false tooth is suspended between two crowns. The crowns are there for added support for the bridge.

Again, a temporary bridge will be given to you while your real bridge is being prepared. In this case, you’ll have two temporary crowns and a temporary bridge tooth.

Once your real crown or crowns and bridge are put in, you will be able to think of them as your natural teeth. Your bite should be as it was. If not, a special trip to the dentist is in order—to get the crowns or bridge adjusted. It can be worked on until your bite is right. That’s’ important because you could develop jaw problems if it’ not.

Once everything is right, you’ll need to go back to the dentist just like you would for normal checkups, twice a year or on whatever schedule your dentist says is right for you.

What problems might develop?

When the temporary is still on, and you don’t eat properly, the crown and/or bridge could come out, or become loose. Avoid chewing on anything hard, like ice or anything chewy like beef jerky, or anything sticky. And that means no Tootsie Rolls or caramels, if you have a sweet tooth! And peanut butter isn’t a good idea, either.

For the same reason, the permanent could also come out, or become loose. But once the stronger cement is used on the permanent, it is much less likely. Usually, this would happen early, not long after the crown/bridge is put in. Again, take care not to bite on anything hard that could crack or break your crown/bridge. Or anything that could tug on it and “pull” it out.

Even though you have a porcelain or gold crown, if you don’t follow really good oral hygiene habits, decay could get started underneath the crown, starting with plaque at the base of the crown and progressing into a cavity.

Therefore, adhere to your regular dental checkups. Your crowns and or bridge will be checked carefully with each appointment. Any looseness will be corrected, and plaque will be cleaned away, with the dental hygienist’s efforts and your good oral hygiene at home.

So about every six months, unless you have a problem is what you should plan on—just like with your natural teeth, unless you’re advised otherwise.