Dental crowns can last a lifetime, but sometimes they can break or chip under certain circumstances. If you find your crown broken or chipped, whether it can be repaired or needs replacement will depend on the amount of damage and the type of crown you have.
How a Dental Crown Cracks
Dental crowns are usually strong depending on their composition, but accidents and some personal habits can cause damage to them. A crown can break from:
- A blow to the face
- A fall
- Grinding teeth
- Biting down on something hard
- Normal wear and tear
You can't always avoid accidents, but you can take care of some personal habits to prevent a cracked crown; for example, do not open snack bags or bottle tops with your teeth. If you have the habit of clenching of jaws or grinding of teeth, consult your dentist to have a mouth guard to wear at night to protect your crown.
Caring For a Broken or Chipped Crown
If your dental crown is damaged or broken, call us immediately for advice on how soon you need to be seen. Depending on the damage, you may need to see an emergency dentist. Unless the damaged portion becomes rough, causing soreness in your mouth, you may be asked to wait a day or two for the repair. In the meantime, depending on the condition of the underlying pulp, you may experience some sensitivity to hot or cold foods or liquids. Examine the affected area and check to see if pieces appear to be missing or dislodged. If it is loose, pull the crown off if to prevent swallowing it. Rinse your mouth with warm water. If there is bleeding from the chipped tooth, use a gauze piece to apply pressure to the damaged tooth. You can also opt for using dental cement available at most drugstores to protect the remaining tooth until you go see your dentist.
It may be possible to repair a chipped dental crown, depending on how much of it is damaged and how severe it is. If the crown's chip/ damage is not large, your dentist will repair it with resin, a composite material with the same color as the tooth. Sometimes, the crown just needs to be reshaped and smoothed. However, you may need a crown replacement if the chip or crack is severe enough.