A dental crown is like a form-fitting cap placed over a tooth; it can restore both the appearance and function of a damaged tooth. Your dentist will first prepare your tooth to be fitted with a crown, then take impressions of the tooth and adjacent teeth before fitting you with a temporary crown that covers and protects your prepared tooth. After a dental lab manufactures your permanent crown -- a process which usually takes several weeks -- your dentist will complete the crown fitting.
Foods to Avoid With a Temporary Crown
Because temporary crowns are made from acrylic, which is less strong than the metal, ceramic or porcelain material of a permanent crown, you must take extra precautions. Limit the amount of chewing you do on the side of your mouth where your temporary crown is located. Avoid chewing on hard candies, nuts and very crunchy fresh vegetables such as carrots on the same side of the mouth as your temporary crown. Until your permanent crown is in place, don't eat sticky desserts or candy, including caramels, licorice, jelly beans, taffy, toffee and gummy bears, as they could pull the temporary crown off your tooth. Avoid chewing gum for the same reason.
Eating hot foods, such as coffee, soups or pizza, will do no damage to your temporary or permanent dental crown, but you may need to avoid them if you experience discomfort. Some individuals experience a mild-to-severe sensitivity in and around a crowned tooth when eating hot foods, particularly if they are affected with gum recession. If the problem persists, consult your dentist as the crown's fit may require adjustment.
You may need to avoid cold foods such as iced beverages or ice cream if you experience pain when eating them. Although they do not harm your crown, such foods can trigger sensitivity similar to that caused by hot foods if any part of your gum recedes enough to expose the root above a crowned tooth. Your dentist may suggest that you use a toothpaste made especially for sensitive teeth; such toothpastes work by blocking the sensation traveling from the tooth to the nerves.
Once your tooth is fitted with a permanent dental crown, it should need no special care and demand no special dietary restrictions, according to the Cleveland Clinic. However, the underlying tooth remains susceptible to decay and/or gum disease just as your regular teeth do. Avoid constant exposure to sugary drinks, candy or gum, keep snacking to a minimum, and brush or rinse your teeth after eating chewy or sticky foods such as dried fruit, recommends the Medline Plus website.