Dental crowns are a common dental prosthesis, used to repair a chipped or cracked tooth. Like your natural teeth, dental crowns are strong and meant to last a lifetime, but they’re not invulnerable. Like natural teeth, crowns can be chipped or cracked via accident or misuse. So if the worst happens and you crack your crown, what should you do then? Let’s start by looking at how dental crowns work, and what to do if you crack or break yours.
Dental crowns are, as the name suggests, a porcelain cap that covers the top of a broken, cracked, or damaged tooth. They’re most commonly used to repair a damaged molar, due to their strength and ability to handle activities like chewing. The procedure generally goes something like this: after a dentist examines the damaged tooth and determines that a crown would be the best choice to repair it, the site is prepared. This generally involves removing some enamel to reshape the natural tooth to accept the crown. A crown is then selected for size and color, trying to match the natural teeth as closely as possible. The crown is then installed, held in place with a strong dental adhesive. When the adhesive dries and holds the crown in place, it will look and function much like a natural tooth. Most of the time, the only care a crown needs is the regular brushing, flossing, and cleanings that your other teeth get.
Crowns function much like natural teeth and can be damaged in the same ways natural teeth can. Accidents, sports activities, and chewing hard items like nuts or ice can all lead to a cracked crown just as they can lead to a cracked damaged tooth. Should this happen, there are some things you should do immediately.
- The first step is to examine the damage as best you can. Are you in pain? Can you see a crack or dislodged piece of the crown? Are there sharp edges now exposed which could cut your tongue or cheek? If the crown is loose or a piece of it has separated, you may want to remove it before you accidentally swallow it, or even choke on it.
- If you end up removing the crown, you’ll need to examine the now-exposed tooth. Is it painful? Can you put up with the feeling for a day or two? If you’re not in pain, your dentist may suggest making a regular appointment rather than an emergency room trip.
- If you’re experiencing minor discomfort, over the counter pain medications might help. If you’re in serious pain, you may want to head to the emergency room or an emergency dentist.
- Call Queen City Dental Arts and let them know what happened. They may suggest an emergency visit or just make a regular appointment a day or two later, depending. Following their advice is best.
Your dentist will likely want to replace the damaged crown with another one, following much the same procedure as when they installed the original. Generally speaking, broken crowns are fairly easy to repair or replace, so it’s not something to be afraid of. Take care to avoid accidents, avoid foods that could crack your teeth, and brush and floss regularly. Your crown, like your natural teeth, should last a lifetime with good care.