Can dental crowns stain and discolor in the same way as a natural tooth? This is certainly possible, but a crown is made of ceramic materials, so the process is a little different from what happens to natural tooth structures. So how will this affect the appearance of your smile?
A Relatively Slow Process
The good news is that any staining or discoloration that affects your dental crown won't be a concern for quite some time. Like with discoloration that becomes visible on your natural dental enamel (which is the outermost layer of your teeth), the process is relatively slow. It can be accelerated by certain habits—namely the consumption of substances known to discolor teeth and dental restorations (coffee, red wine, tea, soda). Rinsing your mouth after consuming these (and similar) items will minimize the effects.
Permeable to Staining Agents
Both ceramic surfaces and natural dental enamel are porous, so they're permeable to staining agents (specifically the tannins contained in some foods and beverages). There's a difference between ceramic and enamel with the progression of any discoloration. Natural tooth enamel will discolor more quickly than your dental crowns. However, your crown will slowly and subtly change too.
Scaling and Polishing Your Smile
Your regular dental checkups actually help to keep any tooth staining under control. This is very important since a crown can't be whitened. The scaling and polishing that a dentist performs as part of a professional teeth cleaning will help to remove surface stains from your teeth. The dental crown will similarly be cleaned and polished, which will assist with keeping stains at bay.
The Two-Tone Effect
What if a color mismatch develops? This is when the degree of discoloration between your crown and natural teeth becomes obvious. In extreme cases, it can create a smile that has a two-tone effect. This is something you'll need professional dental assistance with. A dentist can whiten your teeth to match your dental crown. It's then up to you to maintain the color of your natural teeth to prevent future color mismatches. This ensures that your crown doesn't stand out, meaning it will continue to look natural.
Eventually, the crown will discolor to the point where you may wish to replace it, even though it will still be functional. Many of the issues affecting dental crowns are cosmetic, but that's not to say they're not important. So make sure that you do all you can to prevent color mismatches between your crown and natural teeth.
For more information on dental crowns, contact a professional near you.