What Should You Do When You Break Or Crack A Crown?

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Breaking your crown isn't just a problem for princesses -- this dental calamity can interfere with your ability to chew and speak, and always seems to happen at the least opportune time. What should you do when you break a crown? What repair or replacement options are available to you, and which have the best long-range success rates? Read on for some tips and tricks on replacing (or repairing) your broken crown.

What purpose does a dental crown serve?

A dental crown is used to repair a chipped or decayed tooth. When you visit the dentist for a crown, he or she will grind down the surface of your tooth to remove all decay and ensure that the crown has enough surface area to fully adhere. Your dentist will then take an impression of your teeth by having you bite down into a flexible mold. This mold is then shipped off so that a customized crown can be constructed that will perfectly match your other teeth. In the meantime, a temporary crown will be installed over your tooth to protect it from further injury and to allow you to chew normally.  

Once your new crown has arrived, you'll return to the dentist at a site like http://www.silveradofamilydental.com and your temporary crown will be removed. After the dentist ensures that the surface of your tooth is clean and dry, an adhesive will be applied and the crown securely affixed to your tooth. Your dentist will check your bite and ensure that the surface of the crown is polished and ground down so that it makes good contact with the surfaces of your other teeth.

What causes a broken or cracked crown?

Unfortunately, no man-made material can match the strength and durability of your natural tooth. Crowns are also not meant to last forever -- although the vast majority of crowns will provide you with trouble-free service for 15 or more years, if you're young, you may need to replace your crown(s) several times during your lifetime. 

However, most crowns that break do so for the same reason natural teeth break -- force. Whether you're biting down on a hard cookie or suffer a blow to the mouth or jaw, you may find that your crown has suddenly become loose, or even cracked in half. When this happens, it is important to quickly seek dental care.

What should you do if your crown breaks?

Because the protective layer of enamel covering your natural tooth has been manually ground down to allow the crown to fit, contacting your dentist (or an emergency dentist if yours is unavailable) is crucial. If you delay in seeking dental care, your tooth may no longer be suitable for a replacement crown, forcing you to seek other options. You may also find that the damage to your crown has led to exposure of the nerves in your tooth, causing pain when you speak or chew. 

Your dentist (or an emergency dentist) will remove the broken crown and affix a temporary crown to your tooth until you decide your next steps.

What should you replace your crown with?

In many cases, you may simply want to replace your broken crown with a new crown. Dental technology continues to advance, and you may find that your new crown both performs and looks better then your previous crown. However, if you want a more permanent solution, there are a few alternatives to dental crowns that may interest you.

Dental veneers are ultra-thin layers of porcelain or other material that are permanently affixed to your tooth. Although veneers are similar to dental crowns, they are thinner and lighter weight, and generally better suited for front teeth rather than molars.

Implants involve the removal of your existing tooth entirely. A small titanium screw is implanted into the bone of your jaw, and a porcelain tooth is then attached to the screw. A dental implant looks and functions just like your natural tooth.