Getting a dental crown can be a big adjustment. After having a tooth prepared for a crown, many patients wonder what foods they can and cannot eat with their temporary or permanent crown. Knowing what to eat and avoid after a dental crown procedure is important for protecting the tooth and allowing proper healing.
Can you eat after getting a crown?
Yes, you can eat after getting a dental crown, but you may need to modify your diet temporarily. After having a tooth prepared for a crown, patients receive a temporary crown that protects the tooth while the permanent crown is being made. The temporary crown is made of weaker material than the permanent crown. During this interim period, patients need to take care when eating to prevent damaging or dislodging the temporary crown.
Here are some quick tips for eating with a temporary crown:
- Avoid sticky, chewy, hard, and crunchy foods that could grab and dislodge the temporary crown.
- Cut food into small pieces to minimize pressure on the temporary crown.
- Avoid biting into foods like apples, corn on the cob, crusty bread, and hard candies.
- Chew cautiously on the side opposite the temporary crown.
- Avoid using the affected tooth or temporary crown for biting or tearing off food.
- Avoid high-sugar foods, including some hard candies, chewing gum, and soda.
Once you receive the permanent crown, you can resume a more normal diet. However, you should still take care to avoid very hard, sticky, and chewy foods that could damage the permanent crown over time.
Soft foods to eat with a temporary crown
When you first get a temporary crown, stick to a soft food diet to allow proper healing and avoid crown damage or loss. Here are some good soft food options:
- Mashed potatoes
- Mashed banana
- Cottage cheese
- Scrambled eggs
- Mashed sweet potato
- Pureed vegetable soups
Focus on soft, smooth foods that are easy to chew and swallow and do not require biting or tearing motions. Cold foods like ice cream or popsicles can help soothe pain and inflammation.
Transitioning to regular foods after a crown
As your tooth heals, you can gradually reintroduce more solid foods. Take it slowly and be cautious, cutting all foods into small pieces. Some good options to try after the first 3-5 days with a temporary crown include:
- Cooked vegetables
- Green beans
- Lean meat
- Canned fruit
- Whole grain bread or rolls (no seeds)
- Cereal soaked in milk
Avoid any mixed dishes with rice, grains, seeds, nuts or other hard bits that could damage the temporary crown. Continue to cut all foods into tiny bite-size pieces throughout your temporary crown period.
What not to eat with a temporary crown
To protect your temporary crown while your permanent crown is being made, avoid eating the following:
- Chewy breads with seeds or crusts
- Pizza crust
- Taco shells
- Hard, raw vegetables (carrots, etc.)
- Hard fruits like apples
- Crunchy raw veggies
- Whole corn on the cob
- Hard candies
- Peanut brittle
- Ice cubes
Avoid any foods that are crunchy, sticky, hard, chewy, crisp, or have seeds or bits that could dislodge or crack the temporary crown. Also avoid biting directly into hard foods like apples or tearing at meat with your front teeth.
Permanent crown food guidelines
Once your permanent crown is placed, you can eat a more normal diet. However, some foods should still be avoided or minimized to prevent damaging or discoloring the permanent crown over time:
- Chewy, sticky, gummy foods like caramel, gum, licorice, Starbursts, Skittles, gummy bears
- Hard candies and mints
- Ice cubes
- Popcorn kernels
- Hard taco shells
- Whole nuts
- Hard and crusty breads
- Pizza crust
- Corn on the cob
- Raw carrots and celery
- Apples, pears, crunchy fruits
- Sports drinks
- Citrus fruits and juices (grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange)
- Tomato sauce
- Curry sauces
- Tea (black)
- Soy sauce
You should also avoid clenching or grinding your teeth and minimize chewing on the crowned tooth. Cut harder foods into small pieces before eating. Highly acidic, sugary, and dark-pigmented foods and drinks may stain the crown over time.
When can you eat normally after a crown?
You should avoid hard, sticky, and chewy foods for at least 24 hours after getting a permanent crown. After that, you can slowly add normal healthier foods back into your diet, taking care to cut up harder foods. Within 2-3 weeks, you may be able to resume a relatively normal diet while still avoiding the worst offenders like chewing ice or popcorn kernels.
However, continue to brush normally and floss carefully around the crown daily. Avoid biting nails and chewing on pens, which can damage the crown. See your dentist as recommended for crown checks and cleanings to ensure your crowned tooth stays protected.
Daily Diet Recommendations After Getting a Crown
Here are some daily diet recommendations for the first 2 weeks after getting a dental crown:
|Soft foods only – yogurt, apple sauce, mashed potatoes, soup, scrambled eggs, pudding
|Soft foods cut into small pieces – pasta, fish, tofu, cooked vegetables, canned fruit
|Normal healthy foods cut into small pieces – chicken, eggs, tuna, bread without seeds, cereal soaked in milk
Then after 2 weeks, slowly reintroduce your normal diet while avoiding very hard, chewy, crunchy and sticky foods that could damage the crown.
Tips for eating with a temporary or permanent crown
Here are some helpful tips to protect your temporary or permanent crown while eating:
- Cut all foods into tiny bite-sized pieces to minimize pressure on the crown
- Chew cautiously on the opposite side from your crowned tooth
- Avoid biting into foods; tear foods apart with your fingers instead
- Avoid using your teeth to open packages or bags
- Remove corn kernels off the cob with a knife rather than biting the corn
- Spread peanut butter thinly to avoid getting big globs stuck to the crown
- Rinse your mouth after eating and floss gently around the crown
- Avoid chewing ice, nuts, seeds, candy, cookies, chips, and hard raw vegetables
What to do if you break your crown
While dental crowns are very durable, it is still possible to damage or dislodge a crown while eating. This is more likely with a temporary versus permanent crown. If your crown comes off, call your dentist immediately. Save the crown if possible, avoiding touching the inner surface. Store it somewhere clean and stable like a cup of milk until you can get to the dental office.
Try to prevent swallowing or aspirating the loose crown. Your dentist can often re-cement a dislodged crown if you act quickly and store it properly. If the crown is damaged or you swallow it, a replacement crown will need to be made.
Pain management after a crown procedure
It is normal to have some sensitivity when eating after getting a new dental crown. The tissue around the tooth is inflamed and healing. Cold foods can help numb pain. Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen may also relieve discomfort.
A few pain management tips include:
- Take anti-inflammatory medication before the numbing wears off
- Rinse with warm salt water
- Use sensodyne toothpaste for sensitive teeth
- Avoid irritating the crowned tooth
- Apply ice packs to minimize swelling
- Eat cold soft foods like ice cream or smoothies
- Have your bite adjusted by the dentist if needed
Sensitivity when eating should improve within a few weeks. Call your dentist if you have ongoing pain with hot or cold foods that lasts more than 2-3 weeks. This may indicate an improperly fitted crown or underlying tooth issue needing treatment.
Proper oral hygiene after a crown procedure
Practicing good oral hygiene is critical for protecting your new dental crown and your natural teeth. Be sure to brush at least twice a day and floss once daily. Take extra care flossing around the new crown. An oral irrigator or proxy brush can also help keep the area clean.
See your dentist as recommended after the procedure (often around 3-6 months) to have the crown inspected and get a thorough cleaning. Avoid chewing ice, fingernails, pens or other objects that could crack, chip or dislodge the crown.
Report any sensitivity or discomfort from hot or cold. Get loose crowns repaired immediately before they are swallowed or aspirated. With proper oral hygiene and eating habits, a good quality crown can last 5-15 years or longer before needing to be replaced.
When to call the dentist after a crown
Call your dentist right away if you experience:
- Sensitivity or pain that lasts more than 2-3 weeks
- Chipped, cracked or loose crown
- A lost crown or one you fear swallowing
- Swelling, bleeding or infection around the crowned tooth
- Difficulty chewing properly
- Halitosis or bad taste from the crown area
Your dentist can examine the tooth and crown and make adjustments or repairs as needed. Prompt treatment can often save the crown and prevent additional dental work. Follow all dentist recommendations for diet and hygiene after getting a crown.
Getting a new dental crown requires some temporary eating adjustments and diet modifications. Stick to a soft food diet initially before transitioning to healthier foods cut into tiny pieces. Avoid very hard, sticky, chewy, and crunchy foods that could damage or dislodge the temporary or permanent crown.
Practice good oral hygiene and schedule regular dental visits to ensure your crown lasts many years. Call your dentist promptly if you have any problems with the crown like sensitivity, cracking, or loss of the crown. With proper care after the procedure, a crown can protect and restore your tooth for long-term function and aesthetics.