Dental crowns are wonderful in helping dentists restore teeth that would otherwise need to be extracted. But unfortunately, even the most durable tooth restoration can still crack or chip. Knowing the reasons why your dental crown can break, as well as how to fix a broken crown, will help you take better care of your tooth restorations and overall dental health.
Why Do Dental Crowns Crack?
There are a few common causes for dental crowns to chip or crack, these include:
- Bruxism (i.e. Grinding teeth): If you grind your teeth, either during the day or while you sleep at night, it will eventually take a toll on your teeth. Some common causes of grinding teeth while you sleep include stress, anxiety, sleep apnea and excessive intake of substances such as tobacco, caffeine, alcohol and certain medications. See your doctor for help if you experience trouble sleeping, especially if you know you suffer from a condition like sleep apnea.
- Biting on hard things: Just like jaw clenching and tooth grinding, regularly biting on hard things like candies, ice and nutshells can cause both your dental crowns and natural teeth to break.
- Crown failure: In some cases, the material your crown is made of might not be strong enough. There’s also a chance that it wasn’t properly bonded to your tooth.
- Tooth decay: If the tooth under the crown has decayed, it might no longer be able to support the crown, which can lead to cracks, or in some cases the crown might come off entirely.
- Temperature changes: Sudden temperature fluctuations from hot to cold or vice verse can cause your crown to develop cracks. Generally this is something you should avoid doing even if you don’t have any dental crowns yet, as it can also cause cracks in your natural teeth. Eating ice cream and then drinking a sip of hot coffee directly afterwards is a good example of something that can cause your crown to crack.
For the most part, a good dental crown will be as good as having your natural tooth before the restoration. Most of the guidelines above for taking care of your dental crowns are also beneficial for keeping your natural teeth healthy.
How to Fix a Crown that’s Chipped or Cracked
Chances are, your dental crown will need to be replaced. To replace a dental crown, you should book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
Once you visit your dentist, they’ll take a look and tell your whether or not they can replace the crown. In some cases, the crowned tooth might no longer be able to support a dental crown. This could either be because the tooth has been crowned more than once in the past (dentists often have to remove a bit of the tooth every time it’s crowned again), or because the tooth has decayed under the crown.
In most cases, however, there shouldn’t be a problem with replacing the dental crown. And if your broken crown was made of a material that wasn’t strong enough for you, you can have your new crown made using a more durable option, such as a crown that’s made of a combination of metal and porcelain.
If you’ve been having trouble with a crown that keeps coming off, however, it’s either because your current dentist isn’t bonding it correctly, or because your tooth is no longer able to support the crown. In these cases, getting a second opinion on your crown can help fix the problem for good.
But even in cases when your crown can’t be replaced, there are treatment options available. In some cases, your natural tooth will need to be extracted, but it can be replaced using either a dental implant or a bridge.