One of my four porcelain crowns cracked, and I would like to know if it is an emergency. The tooth is my left lateral incisor. I do not want to jeopardize my tooth and end up needing a dental implant. The fracture is near the bottom. I took pictures of the crack when I first noticed it, and it’s more noticeable than it was a few months ago. I do not want it to break while I am out of town visiting my mom for two weeks. The other issue is that I have a new dentist that I have only seen for cleanings and exams. I’m not sure that I want this practice to do any cosmetic work on my teeth. Is my fractured crown an emergency? – Thank you. Adele from KY
Thank you for your question.
Is a Fractured Dental Crown an Emergency?
A fractured crown is not an emergency that would immediately jeopardize your tooth, so that you need a dental implant. Thin fractures (craze lines) in teeth or crowns are usually affected only the tooth enamel. But if you can see the fracture and it is more visible than before, it may mean that it is getting worse. And the crown will eventually break completely.
Visit a Cosmetic Dentist
You are wise not to trust a dentist whose cosmetic work you haven’t experienced or seen. We recommend scheduling an appointment with an advanced cosmetic dentist to replace the crown. If you are concerned about the crown while you are out-of-town, you may want to see a cosmetic dentist soon, depending on how much time you have before your trip. It usually takes about two weeks to get a new crown.
Replacing one crown requires a dentist to have the color-matching skill to ensure the replacement matches your natural teeth and other crowns. Color-matching is a challenge for many dentists. And they seldom admit when they do not have the skill.
If you must delay a dental visit and anything happens to your crown while out of town, look for an accredited cosmetic dentist or one with advanced cosmetic dentistry training. Look at dentists’ websites for a smile gallery of before-and-after photos of crowns on front teeth.
And please do not worry about needing a dental implant. If the crown broke and you left the tooth unprotected for an extending period, then your natural tooth might weaken and break.
Jerome Cha, DDS, an accredited cosmetic dentist in Tulsa, OK, sponsors this post.