There’s no mistaking the sinking feeling of running your tongue over your teeth and noticing something feels wrong. When that something is a cracked dental crown, your first impulse is probably to phone your dentist.
The good news is that a cracked dental crown, however unsightly or uncomfortable, is rarely an emergency. It is natural for the tooth to be sensitive as the underlying pulp is exposed. But there’s no need to be worried. If there is a jagged edge that’s irritating your tongue or gums, however, you should act quickly. It could cause damage if left unchecked.
But even if you have no pain, it’s a good idea to have your Fort Lauderdale dentist address the issue within one or two days. Conversely, if you find the pain is intense, interfering with your ability to eat, sleep, or work, contacting an experienced emergency dentist is your best bet.
In the meantime …
If your crown cracks, breaks, or comes loose, you can take steps to mitigate the problem until you see your dentist:
- Examine the area. Look at the broken crown and see if pieces appear to be missing or dislodged. If the crown is very loose, you may try to pull it off before you accidentally swallow it.
- Once the crown is out, look at the remaining tooth. Is it jagged and likely to hurt your tongue, or can you deal with the unusual feeling in your mouth for one or two days?
- If you have minor pain, some over-the-counter pain reliever should help. If the area is bleeding or highly sensitive, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
What causes a cracked dental crown?
Like your natural teeth, your crown is strong, but not impenetrable to damage. You may have had the unfortunate accident of biting down on something too hard, like unpopped popcorn kernels or ice cubes. Grinding or clenching your teeth adds pressure to the crown that could result in a crack as well.
Sometimes simple age enters into the picture. With proper care, your dental cap should last 5 to 15 years. If your crown is getting “long in the tooth,” everyday wear may have initiated a small crack that grew over time until you finally noticed the gap.
Dental crown repair
Repairs to a cracked dental crown vary depending on the size and severity of the damage. In many cases, your dentist can simply smooth and reshape the remaining crown.
But if the crack is severe enough, your dentist may recommend an entirely new crown, using a dental post to hold the appliance in place.
Talk to your prosthodontist about payment options. They’ll be able to help you with your insurance company, making the process easy and affordable.
CareCredit is another great option that allows patients to pay off larger expenses in more affordable monthly installments.
When it’s the tooth—not the crown
When your capped tooth suddenly feels “off,” it’s natural to assume the problem is the crown. This is especially true if it’s a back tooth that you can’t see very well. But sometimes the crack isn’t in the crown but in the remaining tooth beneath it.
A cracked or broken tooth should be seen right away, before bacteria settles in or the crack widens. Decay or damage to the tooth may require removing it entirely and replacing it with a dental implant. Learn more about the dental implant procedure here.