It’s important to practice good oral hygiene in order to protect and preserve your dental implant. Without good oral hygiene, dental implants can be lost to infection. But you also have to take care of the dental crown. Although it won’t be lost to infection, it might not give you the long-lasting results you want if you don’t care for it properly.
Less Shock Absorbers Mean More Fracture Risk
The greatest risk to dental crowns, dentures, and dental bridges atop your dental implants is your own bite. You can bite down pretty hard, and that’s why your natural teeth are built with shock absorbers.
Your natural tooth has a hard outer layer, but it gets progressively softer with each layer. This gives your tooth a little bit of flex to it that can help absorb some of the force of biting down hard. Do this too often, of course, and it can lead to excessive wear and even a cracked tooth, but for a while your tooth can handle the strain.
An even more important shock absorber is the periodontal ligament. Your natural tooth isn’t actually attached to your bone, it’s attached to a strong but flexible soft tissue that incorporates a little bit of give into your bite. That allows your teeth to avoid taking so much force so suddenly.
Despite attempts to build shock absorbers into dental implants, it hasn’t happened yet. Dental implants are firmly placed in the bone, so they don’t have shock absorbers. And dental crowns aren’t like your natural teeth. They don’t flex. The combination of these two factors can cause dental crowns to break under the strain.
Protecting Dental Crowns
There are many things you can do to help ensure your dental crowns last as long as possible, maybe even a lifetime like your dental implants.
First, don’t use your teeth as bottle openers, nutcrackers, or ice breakers. This can cause dental implant crowns to break. Your teeth already have a lot of jobs to do–like chewing, speaking, supporting your jaw, and looking pretty–they don’t need any more.
Make sure your dental crown is fitted by a dentist who understand your bite. A poorly fitted dental crown may take excess force, which can irritate gums and lead to fractures.
Finally, talk to your dentist about bruxism (teeth clenching or grinding) and get a mouthguard if bruxism will affect your implants. And make sure you wear it. The mouthguard does no good sitting on your nightstand.