How to Deal with a Broken Crown?

A crown is a common dental restoration used to preserve the teeth’s functionality, shape and size. Crowns protect teeth that are highly prone to fractures especially after root canal treatments; they cover dental implants and close gaps between cracked and worn teeth.
What happens if your crown breaks or falls out? Find out below.

Are there any quick fix for the patients until they see a dentist?

The best thing you can do is apply a little clove oil with a cotton swab or dental cement directly to the tooth surface if it feels sensitive. This might help a bit in terms of the sensitivity and pain relief. If the patient has the crown, it might be possible to slip it back over the tooth. Make sure that the inside of the crown is clean and then you can coat it with a tooth cement or dental adhesive paste which are both available in the dental section of the pharmacies. This is a temporary solution until the patient can visit their dentist.

How do dentists deal with broken crowns?

A lost or fallen out crown is rarely an emergency. However, sometimes it can be quite painful as the exposed tooth tissue might be sensitive if the tooth is vital (has a living pulp). It can cause a lot of discomfort psychologically or aesthetically if it is located within the anterior area. Depending on the case, it should be fixed as soon as possible.
What we normally do is ask the patient if they still have the crown. If so, after cleaning and thoroughly examining both the remaining tooth structure and the crown, we make sure that the core is not defective or carious. If clinical exam and X-rays prove that the crown fits and adapt well with the tooth structure, we might consider making the crown ready for re-cementation.
However, this is not always feasible. When the crown is lost or is defective, we advise to fit a temporary crown and we attempt to make a new crown after doing the necessary preparation. Unfortunately, in some cases, the tooth might not be restorable and we might consider other options such as extraction and implant replacement.

Post-surgery tips:

The immediate precautionary post-surgery steps involve taking it easy for the first day, especially for some types of cements. It is best to stay away from eating hard or sticky food to allow the cement the adequate time to set.
If you have numbed up during previous dental treatments you need to wait till the normal sensation returns before eating anything. Otherwise, there is the risk of biting your cheek or your lip. Hopefully, the next day you can test the bite of your crown to make sure it feels right with every type of jaw movement.
If you are not comfortable, please let your dentist know about it, so that they can adjust and correct it immediately. All of the above steps need to be taken into consideration when looking after your new crowns.

How long before a return checkup is required?

Your dentist should check your crowns routinely every six months. Your dentist can clinically check your set of crowns by probing the margins and the contacts as well as taking bitewing X-rays to rule out any possible problem. This checkup is essential for every individual to maintain good overall oral health as well as people who have crowns or other restorations in the mouth. In some cases, the time frame might be slightly shorter, but this will be advised by your dentist.

What is the key to maintaining long-lasting crowns?

As dentists, we need to make sure that the crown is made and fitted perfectly. We check factors such as the marginal seal and the adaptability of the crown margins to the tooth structure. No matter how hard the patient tries, a defective and ill-fitting crown will be difficult to maintain.

Once the crown is fitted and cemented, patients should:

  • Maintain excellent oral hygiene by brushing with preferably an electric toothbrush at least twice daily and flossing regularly to remove bacteria. Remember to clean and pay careful attention to where the teeth meet the gum.
  • Use fluoride and anti-bacterial mouthwash regularly to contribute to mechanical and chemical plaque removal.
  • Avoid chewing on hard food that can break the porcelain and take precautionary steps towards some destructive habits such as grinding by using a night guard.

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