An implant crown is a sturdy device that has the shape, consistency and structure of a natural tooth. This means you can use your implant crown as you would a natural tooth, but it also means the crown can still get cracked or broken. When this happens, having the knowledge of what to do can save you time, money and pain.
Dental implants are the most trusted, effective method of tooth replacement in the dental health world today. Implants have been around since ancient times, but the modern version of these helpful devices has been used successfully for over 30 years. The modern implant is composed of three parts: The post, the abutment and the implant crown.
The post is a sort of screw made from titanium that acts as an artificial tooth root. The abutment sits atop the post, sitting just above the gumline. The implant crown is connected to the post by way of the abutment, making it a fully functioning implant.
Meant to last decades (or even a lifetime) much like natural teeth, implant crowns are most commonly made of metal, ceramic, porcelain or a combination of metal with a porcelain coating. Most crowns are made from porcelain, a material that most closely mimics the functionality and appearance of tooth enamel. Though enamel is known to be the hardest substance in the body, it is not indestructible.
Implant crowns can break for many reasons, including:
Clenching teeth during the day and grinding teeth at night is a common condition known medically as bruxism. Over time, the crown will begin to wear down, causing tiny fractures and weakening its structure. Look for symptoms of bruxism during the day, such as a dull headache in the temple, jaw pain or tooth sensitivity. Make sure to consult your dentist if you suspect teeth grinding, as she or he will recommend a nightly mouthguard to counteract the effects and save your teeth.
Chewing on hard foods (hard candy, ice or even chips) can damage the implant crown as well. Big breaks can also occur when any physical trauma happens to the mouth or jaw. Sports injuries and accidents are among the most common reasons for an implant crown to break.
Implant crowns are resistant to tooth decay, so although you will not need to worry about cavities threatening your implant, certain actions can damage the device. If you treat your implant crown with the same caution as your natural teeth, you can enjoy many years with it intact.
If your implant crown breaks, contact our office as soon as it happens. Gather the pieces if the crown falls out and save them. If there is any pain, use a cold compress to ice the area. Typically, the crown will need to be replaced as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to the implant.
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