A dental crown is a form of dental restoration that completely caps or encircles a tooth or dental implant. Typically, dental crowns are used when a tooth is broken, worn down, or needs to strengthen a tooth weakened by decay or a fracture. Think of a crown as a protective helmet for a damaged or weak tooth. It can be made of various materials, including porcelain, metal, or both. Dental crowns restore the tooth’s shape, size, and function, and they help to restore the overall aesthetics of one’s smile.
The prevalence of issues relating to a broken crown tooth or a damaged dental crown is more common than one might think. Whether from normal wear and tear, biting down on hard foods, or an accident, broken dental crowns can lead to discomfort, pain, and even further damage to the underlying tooth structure if not addressed. A dental emergency necessitates an emergency dentist appointment to evaluate the affected tooth and recommend the right dental treatment. If you ever face a broken crown, understanding the nature of dental crowns and why they might break can be crucial in determining your next steps, including seeking dental treatment promptly.
Understanding Dental Crowns
A dental crown is more than just a protective cover for a tooth. It’s a key player in many dental treatments designed to restore both the form and function of damaged or weak teeth.
A dental crown is a cap placed over an entire tooth. This cap is moulded to the original tooth’s shape, ensuring it fits seamlessly with other teeth in the mouth. Crowns can be made from various materials, each with unique benefits. Porcelain crowns, for instance, are popular for their natural appearance, blending in with the surrounding teeth. Other materials include metals, porcelain fused to metal, resin, or ceramic.
Dental crowns are often the solution when tooth decay has compromised the natural tooth structure. A dentist may recommend a crown after a root canal treatment, which eliminates infection from a tooth but often leaves it frail. Crowns strengthen these weakened teeth, preventing them from further damage. Large cavities that can’t be fixed with fillings might also necessitate a crown.
In some cases, dental implants, which replace missing teeth, are topped with crowns to replicate the appearance and function of natural teeth. Aside from these vital purposes, crowns also serve cosmetic functions. They can cover misshapen or severely discoloured teeth, offering a permanent solution to aesthetic concerns.
While crowns are durable, they’re not impervious to damage. A broken crown, whether from an accident, normal wear, or biting down on something hard, can be painful and expose the underlying tooth to potential issues. In such cases, seeing a dentist immediately is imperative to assess the situation and determine the best action.
Common Causes of Broken Crown
Dental crowns are not invincible; while durable and effective for dental restoration. Several factors can lead to a broken crown tooth, and understanding these can help in both prevention and timely intervention.
Accidents or injuries involving the mouth can lead to immediate damage. Whether it’s a sports-related incident, a fall, or any direct blow to the mouth, such trauma can result in a broken or chipped crown. It’s essential to see a dentist immediately after such incidents to evaluate the extent of the damage.
Biting on Hard Substances
Our natural teeth and dental crowns are robust but have limits. Biting down hard foods or objects like ice, candy, or bones can exert excessive pressure, causing a crown to crack or break.
Long-term Wear and Tear
Dental crowns are subjected to normal wear over time, like our natural teeth. Constant chewing and grinding, especially in cases of bruxism (teeth grinding), can weaken the crown, making it more susceptible to breaks.
Poorly Fitted Crowns
If a crown isn’t fitted properly, it can create pressure points in the mouth. Over time, this can lead to the crown breaking or becoming dislodged. Regular dentist appointments can help identify and rectify such issues before they escalate.
Underlying Tooth Decay
Sometimes, tooth decay underneath a dental crown can compromise the crown’s foundation. The affected tooth might weaken, putting additional strain on the crown and leading to potential breakage.
Maintaining good oral health, attending regular dental check-ups, and being mindful of the foods and habits that can jeopardise the integrity of your crowns. If you ever suspect an issue with your crown, scheduling a dental appointment as soon as possible can prevent further complications.
Symptoms and Identification
Pain or Sensitivity
One of the primary indicators of a broken crown tooth or underlying issues is pain or heightened sensitivity. If you suddenly feel discomfort while consuming hot, cold, or sweet foods, it might be due to a compromised dental crown or underlying tooth decay. Regular dental treatments can help in addressing and mitigating such pain.
Sharp Edges Felt with the Tongue
If your crown has cracked or chipped, the broken edges might feel sharp or jagged against your tongue. Such jagged edges can irritate the surrounding tissue in the mouth, and it’s essential to see a dentist immediately to prevent injuries.
Visible Cracks or Pieces Missing
Regularly inspecting your teeth can help identify visible cracks or missing parts from the dental crown. It might result from a broken dental crown, normal wear, or even biting down on something hard.
If you’re suddenly finding it challenging to chew using the side of your mouth where the crown is, it might be because the crown has become loose and broken or the underlying tooth structure is affected.
Pay attention to these symptoms. A dental emergency can arise unexpectedly, and scheduling a dentist appointment at the earliest sign of discomfort or anomaly is always advisable. Regular check-ups and prioritising oral health can be the difference between a quick fix and an extensive dental restoration.
Immediate Steps after Identifying a Broken Crown
Upon realising you have a broken dental crown, it’s vital to act promptly to prevent further damage or complications. Here’s what you should do:
Avoid Chewing on the Affected Side:
When you have a broken crown tooth, you must avoid applying additional pressure on it. Chewing can exacerbate the damage or cause pain. It’s best to eat soft foods and avoid hard or sticky items that might threaten the affected tooth.
Clean the Area Gently:
Maintaining oral health is crucial, more so when you have dental issues. Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the affected area. If your broken crown has left exposed or jagged edges, be especially gentle to prevent injuries to your tongue or cheeks.
Over-the-Counter Pain Relief:
If you experience pain or discomfort from the broken crown, consider taking over-the-counter pain relief. This will provide temporary relief, but remember, it’s not a permanent solution. Consultation with a dentist is vital.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures:
With a broken or chipped crown, the underlying tooth might become sensitive. Avoid consuming very hot or cold beverages or foods. Extreme temperatures can trigger sharp pain in the affected tooth.
Lastly, scheduling a dentist appointment as soon as possible is essential. Ignoring a broken dental crown can lead to more severe dental emergencies. Whether it’s a cracked crown, underlying tooth decay, or any other related concern, addressing it promptly can save you from extensive dental treatments.
Professional Treatment Options
Recognising when you’re facing a dental emergency is pivotal. If you have a broken crown tooth, seeing a dentist is crucial. A damaged crown can compromise the tooth structure, leading to further complications if left untreated. If your broken dental crown is causing severe pain, a major vertical or horizontal crack or the entire tooth is badly damaged, schedule an emergency dentist appointment. Ignoring these signs can exacerbate the situation, resulting in more extensive dental treatments later. So, let’s take a closer look at the procedure of getting a new crown for your broken tooth
If the crown is intact but has come loose, the dentist may opt to fix the broken crown using dental cement.
Replacing the Crown
A new crown may be necessary if the crown is chipped, cracked, or has jagged edges. The procedure typically involves digital scans of the affected tooth, followed by crown fabrication, which fits seamlessly with other teeth.
Root Canal Treatment
If tooth decay has reached the pulp or there’s an internal problem with the underlying tooth, a root canal might be prescribed if not done previously.
Extraction becomes the last resort in extreme cases where the damaged tooth cannot be salvaged.
The procedure of Crown Replacement:
After removing the broken crown, the dentist cleans the affected area, eliminating old cement and checking for signs of decay. A digital scanner then captures the tooth’s dimensions, ensuring the new dental crown fits perfectly. The crown can be made of various materials, including porcelain, and once ready, it’s cemented onto the natural tooth.
Remember, after any dental treatment, it’s essential to maintain oral health. Regular dentist appointments and consistent care can prevent future mishaps and ensure the longevity of dental crowns.
The best approach to managing a broken crown tooth is proactive prevention. You can avoid potential dental emergencies and enjoy good oral health by safeguarding your dental crowns and natural teeth. Here are some prevention tips:
Regular Dental Check-ups:
Scheduling regular dentist appointments ensures early detection of problems, be it a weak tooth structure or potential tooth decay. Through routine inspections, a dentist can assess the condition of dental crowns and rectify issues before they escalate.
Wearing Mouthguards During Sports:
Sports accidents can lead to damaged teeth and broken crowns. Wearing mouthguards, especially during contact sports, is a preventative measure that can save you from an emergency dentist appointment later.
Avoiding Hard or Sticky Foods:
While dental crowns are designed to mimic the function of natural teeth, they can get damaged. Biting on hard foods or getting a crown stuck with something sticky can lead to cracks or the crown becoming dislodged. Eat soft foods when you have a new crown until it settles.
Proper Oral Hygiene Practices:
Maintaining oral health is paramount. Regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing prevent gum disease and tooth decay that can undermine the integrity of a dental crown. Furthermore, it ensures the gum line remains healthy, providing a solid foundation for crowns and preventing further damage.
By taking these preventative steps, you will protect your dental crowns and promote overall tooth health, reducing the risk of dental treatments in the future. Remember, always consult a dentist when in doubt as soon as possible to address any concerns.
Cost and Insurance Considerations
When facing the predicament of a broken crown tooth, understanding the financial aspects is crucial. The cost of fixing a broken crown or replacing an entire dental crown can be an immediate concern for many.
Average Cost of Crown Repair or Replacement:
Repairing a broken crown may be less expensive than replacing the whole thing, but costs can still vary. On average, the price for a dental crown ranges depending on the material—porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or full metal. Re-cementing a dislodged crown is usually on the lower end, while a new crown, especially dental onlay or those combined with a dental implant, can be pricier.
Factors Affecting the Price:
Type of Crown: Temporary crowns are generally less expensive than permanent ones.
Material Used: Gold or porcelain crowns cost more than other types.
Dental Procedures Needed: If tooth decay or a root canal treatment is needed before placing the crown, this can escalate costs.
Geographical Location: Costs can vary based on where the dentist’s office is located.
Insurance Coverage Insights:
Dental insurance often covers a portion of dental treatments, including crowns. However, coverage might differ depending on whether the crown is necessary or a cosmetic procedure. Having a detailed conversation with your insurance provider before scheduling a dental appointment is essential. Some plans cover repairing a broken dental crown but offer limited replacement coverage. Some insurance might expedite the process to relieve pain and prevent further damage in a dental emergency.
In conclusion, while a damaged or broken crown can be distressing, understanding the cost and insurance considerations ensures you’re well-prepared. Always consult your dentist as soon as possible to get a clear estimate tailored to your needs.
Can a broken crown cause infection?
A broken dental crown can expose the underlying tooth or previously treated tooth structure, leaving it vulnerable to bacteria. This can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, or even an infection, emphasising the need to address it promptly.
How long can I wait before seeing a dentist?
If you have a broken crown, it’s considered a dental emergency. While you might not feel severe pain immediately, the affected tooth is at risk. Schedule an emergency dentist appointment as soon as possible. Waiting can cause further damage or complications.
Is it possible to fix a broken crown at home?
No, it’s not advisable to fix a broken crown at home. Temporary solutions alleviate the problem momentarily, but they can cause additional complications. If a crown has come off, keep it safe and see a dentist immediately. Refrain from using adhesives or dental cement not specifically intended for crowns.
Will I always need a new crown if mine breaks?
Not necessarily. The course of dental treatment depends on the damage extent. The dentist might repair the crown if it’s a minor chip or crack. However, a badly damaged or broken crown often requires a new crown.
Are there foods I should avoid if my crown breaks?
Avoid hard or sticky foods that can provide leverage and worsen the damage. Opt for soft foods like mashed potatoes and avoid the affected area while chewing.
Dental health is pivotal in our overall well-being, and issues like a broken crown tooth or dental emergencies require immediate attention. A dental crown’s primary purpose is to protect the underlying tooth from further damage and decay and to restore its functionality. However, when a crown breaks, it can compromise tooth structure, leading to severe pain and even further complications if left untreated. The broken crown can expose the underlying tooth or a dental implant, making it vulnerable to bacteria and other external elements.
Prevention, undeniably, remains the best approach to oral health. Regular dental check-ups can identify and rectify potential problems early on, preventing tooth decay, gum disease, and damaged teeth. It’s imperative to ensure that dental crowns and other restorative structures remain intact and in good condition, as they play a significant role in maintaining the integrity of natural teeth. Moreover, immediate intervention in the case of a dental emergency, such as a cracked crown or broken dental cement, is crucial to prevent further damage.
At Sure Smile Dental, our team of experts is equipped with advanced tools, including digital scanners, to provide the best dental treatments tailored to your needs. We emphasise the importance of routine dentist appointments and encourage everyone to visit us regularly. If you suspect an issue with your dental crown or experience pain, see a dentist immediately.
Don’t wait for the situation to exacerbate. Call Sure Smile Dental today at (07) 3185 2387 and ensure your smile remains as vibrant and healthy as ever.