Coffee, Tea, And Your Teeth: Avoiding And Dealing With Stained Implant Crowns

Dental implants have helped so many people regain the ability to bite normally and not have to worry about anything (like dentures) possibly falling out. While the process to get an implant can take anywhere from one day to a few months, depending on the specific procedure used, the result is a sturdy, stable replacement tooth that looks very natural. So natural, in fact, that you might find the crown part of the implant staining right alongside the rest of your teeth if you're an avid coffee or tea drinker. On one hand, this does mean the crown will continue to blend in to an extent (it might not stain as fast as your natural teeth). On the other, it means that the nice crown is now stained – and no one wants stains. What can you do, and is there a way to avoid staining the crown in the first place?

Why Do Implant Crowns Become Stained?

You'd think that crowns wouldn't stain, but they can. Sometimes the stain is on top of the crown's surface and can be cleaned away at your dentist's office. But often the culprit is a scratch or cheap material that allows the coffee or tea to get into the crown material. Certain materials are less stain-prone than others; for example, porcelain that isn't scratched or chipped (which can happen if you chew on something really hard, like an ice cube) is very stain-resistant. There are also materials like zirconia used for crowns that are very stain-resistant. But a cheaper material might not be as resistant.

How to Get Rid of Stains on Implant Crowns

Once an implant crown is stained, it's tough to get the stain off. You can't just bleach it away like you can with a natural tooth. Baking soda isn't such a good idea; while it easily removes tea stains from cups, and might remove them from the crown, it can also scratch the crown if you're not careful. Remember baking soda is abrasive. You'd likely have to go see your dentist and have them repolish the crown, or in really bad cases of damage, replace the crown.

Can You Avoid Stained Implant Crowns When You Drink Coffee or Tea?

You can certainly try to avoid stains; they're not a given just because you occasionally have some coffee or tea. Treat the crown like your natural teeth and do things like rinsing and brushing after having coffee or tea (remember to wait a half-hour or so, so the enamel on your natural teeth has a chance to recover from exposure to acids in food and drink). Rinsing and brushing help wash away residue from tea and coffee that might have stuck to your teeth. If you drink iced coffee or iced tea, try using a straw so that the drink doesn't wash over your teeth when you take a sip.

If you have a dental implant with a crown that's very stained, see your dentist. You may need the crown replaced or repolished, depending on how bad the stain is.