Dental crowns (also known as caps) are often used in cases where a tooth has been severely damaged. The cap covers the whole outer surface of the tooth, preventing further decay and keeping the remaining parts of the tooth intact. The procedure of placing dental crowns is considered to be highly effective. Because of the health benefits associated with restoring broken teeth instead of extracting them, dentists like to preserve natural dental tissue with restorative procedures.
Unfortunately, even the best dental crown can break. If your dental crown is broken, there are a number of things you might want to know about why this happens and what you can do to fix the problem.
Why Do Dental Crowns Break?
There isn’t a single reason why dental crowns break. Establishing why your crown broke can help your dentist to prevent the problem from occurring again soon after you’ve had it fixed. Things that commonly cause crowns to chip or crack include:
• Grinding of teeth (either while you’re sleeping or awake.) Tooth grinding can cause damage even to your natural teeth, so if you’re doing it while you’re awake, it’s important that you unlearn the habit and reduce things like stress, which can lead to tooth grinding.
• Biting on hard things, much like with your natural teeth, can cause your crown to break. You should avoid eating things that are very hard, even if you don’t have dental caps. In many of these cases, your dental cap might not even have been much weaker than your real teeth, the pressure was just simply too much.
• Crowns that aren’t made of strong materials can be more prone to wear and tear. Anything from fluctuating temperatures to regular chewing can cause these crowns to fail. In order to avoid this problem, you should ask your dentist about the quality of the materials used by the laboratory that will make your crown, as well as the skill level of the technicians.
• Your bite, or the way your teeth rest on one another when your jaw is closed, can cause certain parts of your crown to be subjected to higher amounts of force while you chew, which could cause it to break. Rather often, this is the underlying problem when dental crowns break repeatedly.
You should ask your dentist about what could have caused your crown to break. Doing so could help to ensure that any underlying problems are corrected so your new crown will last longer. Of course, if your crown broke after you bit on something hard, or you clench your teeth, you’ll need to ask your dentist about preventative measures to avoid future problems.
Fixing Dental Crowns
Broken dental crowns can’t usually be fixed. Once a crown is damaged, is usually needs to be replaced. While it’s important that you see your dentist about a broken crown as soon as possible, broken crowns aren’t usually considered to be a dental emergency. Seeing your dentist within 5-7 days after your dental crown broke will usually be safe.
However, there are cases when a broken crown can’t be left that long without treatment. If the crowned tooth is very painful, or there are sharp edges that can cut the inside or your mouth, you need to see a dentist much sooner, perhaps even the same day if you can. For the most part, you’ll be able to tell by the level of discomfort you’re experiencing whether or not your broken crown is a dental emergency.
In certain cases, patients think that their crown is the problem when, actually, the tooth itself has been damaged. This tends to cause more pain, but could be completely painless if the tooth pulp has died. Unfortunately, your broken tooth might no longer be able to support a crown and will need to be extracted. If that’s the case, getting a dental implant is a great option for replacing your missing tooth.
While waiting for your appointment, you should practice good oral hygiene. If you feel hesitant to brush the area where your broken crown is, use mouthwash or a salt water solution after brushing to kill bacteria.
Remember, while your broken dental crown might not be causing you too much pain, you should not leave it untreated for a long time. If your regular dentist is unable to help you within the first few days, you should consider asking visiting a dentist that can help you sooner. A broken crown that’s left untreated can create the perfect place for bacteria to grow, which can lead to an infection that will be much more painful and harder to treat than a broken dental crown.