The Essential Guide to Dental Crown Repair and Replacement

The Essential Guide to Dental Crown Repair and Replacement By Dr. Jon ( Junyi ) Ho | November 27, 2023

Dental crowns play a crucial role beyond mere dental treatments; they are an integral element of numerous individuals’ smiles. When a dental crown encounters damage or breakage, it usually triggers worry among patients, leading them to wonder about the next steps. They often ponder whether it’s necessary to replace the crown or if a repair is feasible.

This blog post aims to explain the various aspects of dental crowns, including the process of dental crown repair to the necessity of dental crown replacement. Furthermore, we’ll discuss the different dental crown materials available and their respective benefits.

In this guide, we’ll break down the following:

  • Why dental crowns get damaged
  • How to determine if a crown needs a repair or replacement
  • Tips on managing a broken dental crown until you can see a dentist
  • The steps involved in repairing a crown
  • Choosing the right dental crown materials for your needs

Our goal is to offer clear and practical advice on topics ranging from dental crown materials to handling emergencies. So, let’s dive in and keep that smile in top shape!

Summary of the Content:

  • Dental crowns may get damaged from hard foods, accidents, natural wear, poor oral hygiene routines, and incorrect fittings.
  • Signs indicating the need for crown repair include changes in colour, tooth sensitivity, and visible cracks. Early detection through check-ups is vital.
  • When a crown breaks, it is important to remain calm, retrieve the crown, clean the affected area, and use temporary cement. Seeking dentist advice is also crucial.
  • Dental crown repair procedures include cleaning, reshaping, selecting appropriate materials, and checking for a snug fit.
  • Crown replacement may be necessary due to extensive damage, poor aesthetics, or wear. Replacement focuses on fit, appearance, and overall tooth health.
  • Different crown materials include porcelain, ceramic, resin, and metal, and each offers distinct advantages and challenges.
  • Choosing the right crown material involves considering functionality, tooth location, desired colour, and consulting with dental professionals.

Common Reasons for Dental Crown Damage

Dental crowns are cap-like restorations placed over damaged or weakened teeth to restore their function and appearance. Despite their durability, crowns can still suffer damage due to various factors and need repair. The following are common causes that might lead to the need for dental crown repair:

  • Biting on Hard Foods:
    Chewing or biting hard foods can exert excessive pressure on dental crowns, leading to cracks, chips, or even dislodgement.
  • Accidents or Injuries:
    Trauma to the face or mouth, such as in sports injuries or accidents, can cause significant damage to dental crowns.
  • Natural Wear and Tear:
    Over time, the normal use of teeth can lead to wear and tear of dental crowns, especially if they are made of less durable materials.
  • Poor Oral Hygiene Routine:
    Inadequate dental hygiene can lead to issues like gum disease or decay in the underlying tooth, affecting the stability and integrity of the crown.
  • Poor Fitting Crowns:
    Crowns that are not properly fitted can have weak points that are prone to damage, and may not provide adequate protection to the underlying tooth.

Understanding these common reasons for dental crown damage can help guide patients in taking the right steps to protect their dental crowns.

Signs That Your Dental Crown Needs Repair

Darch Dental Centre

Not sure when to seek dental crown repair or replacement? Here are signs and symptoms to watch out for:

  1. Changes in Colour:
    A change in the colour of the crown could mean problems either with the crown itself or the underlying natural tooth.
  2. Sensitivity or Pain:
    Experiencing sensitivity or pain around the crown, especially when consuming hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks, can indicate an open crown margin or tooth decay.
  3. Jagged Edges or Cracks:
    Feeling rough edges, noticing visible cracks, or chips in the crown are clear indicators that the crown may need repair.
  4. Receding or Swollen Gums Around the Crown:
    Healthy gums are essential. If you notice inflammation or recession around your crown, it could suggest gum disease or an ill-fitting crown.
  5. Loose Crowns:
    A crown that feels loose or wobbles is a significant sign that it needs attention. This could be due to the weakening of the cement or the underlying tooth.
  6. Bad Taste or Odour:
    A foul taste or smell coming from the crown area might indicate a decay under the crown or an infection.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to consult your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further complications. Regular dental check-ups can also help in early detection and maintenance of dental crowns.

How to Handle a Broken Dental Crown at Home

A broken dental crown can catch you off guard, especially when you least expect it. Knowing what to do in such a situation can be invaluable, as it can help prevent further complications. While it’s imperative to seek professional evaluation as soon as possible, certain steps can be taken to manage the situation at home:

  • Stay Calm:
    First and foremost, don’t panic. Despite any initial fear it may cause, a broken dental crown is a problem that can be addressed.
  • Retrieve the Crown:
    If the entire crown comes off, try to retrieve it. This can be helpful for your dentist to determine the next steps.
  • Clean the Area:
    Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water. This helps keep the area clean and can offer some relief if there is pain.
  • Temporary Placement:
    If you feel comfortable, you can use a dab of toothpaste or dental adhesive to temporarily secure the crown back onto the tooth. Remember, this is a temporary measure!
  • Avoid Certain Foods:
    Steer clear of sticky, hard, or overly hot or cold foods that could aggravate the situation.

Remember, these steps only offer temporary relief. If you notice that you have a broken dental crown, it is important to seek a dental appointment for proper treatment.

Professional Dental Crown Repair Procedures

Dental crown repairs are more than just addressing an issue; they’re about restoring confidence in your smile. The following are steps taken by dentists to repair or replace dental crowns:

  • Assessment:
    Initially, experienced dentists will assess the extent of the dental crown damage.
  • Cleaning:
    Any debris or old cement from the previous crown is removed.
  • Reshaping:
    In cases of improper crown preparation, the tooth might be reshaped. However, in case of severe fracture or decay, a root canal treatment may be needed prior to reshaping.
  • Choice of Material:
    Depending on the situation, dentists might recommend various dental crown materials, from resin crowns to ceramic or metal crowns.
  • Techniques:
    With advancements in dental technology, some procedures like CEREC same-day crowns allow for quick turnarounds.
  • Final Fitting:
    Once the crown is ready, your dentist will check that it fits correctly, restoring both function and aesthetics.

Opting for prompt, professional repair can mitigate potential issues and keep your smile in its prime form.

When Replacement is the Only Option

Sometimes, despite all efforts, a dental crown repair might not be feasible, making replacement the only viable option. But when is replacement necessary, and what can you expect?

  • Severe Damage:
    In cases where there’s extensive dental crown damage or where the underlying tooth structure is compromised, a replacement becomes inevitable.
  • Long-Term Wear:
    Crowns, like all dental restorations, have a lifespan. Over time, they might wear down, necessitating a new crown.
  • Aesthetic Reasons:
    For those seeking a beautiful, natural-looking smile, upgrading to a newer, more aesthetic crown might be the choice.

Replacement Process

Replacing a dental crown is a meticulous process that focuses on aesthetics, functionality, and health. Here’s a detailed walkthrough:

  1. Removal of the Old Crown:
    This initial step involves careful removal of the existing crown. The dentist will use specialised tools to gently dislodge the crown so that the underlying tooth structure remains as intact as possible.
  2. Tooth Preparation:
    Once the old crown is removed, the dentist will assess the tooth’s condition. This may involve removing residual cement, management of the decay, and reshaping the tooth to accommodate the new crown.
  3. Taking Impressions:
    After reshaping the crown, a new impression of the tooth is taken using either traditional moulds or digital scanning techniques. Accurate impressions of the prepared tooth are crucial for fabricating a crown that fits well, for they will serve as the blueprint for the new crown.
  4. Temporary Crown Fitting:
    In most cases, patients receive a temporary crown to protect the prepared tooth while the final one is being fabricated. This provisional crown is designed to be a short-term restoration so the patient can chew and speak comfortably.
  5. Fabricating the New Crown:
    The impressions are sent to a dental laboratory, where skilled technicians use various dental crown materials to design a crown that matches the colour, shape, and size of the patient’s natural teeth.
  6. Final Fitting:
    When the final crown is ready, another appointment is scheduled. The dentist will remove the temporary crown, clean the tooth, and then cement the new crown securely in place. Necessary adjustments are made to achieve proper bite and alignment.

Benefits of Dental Crown Replacement

Opting for a dental crown replacement offers numerous benefits for those seeking to improve their oral health and aesthetics. Here are some of them.

  1. Superior Fit:
    Modern dentistry makes use of advanced technologies to create crowns that fit seamlessly, eliminating any discomfort or misalignment.
  2. Enhanced Comfort:
    A well-fitted crown means no irritations or sharp edges, leading to overall improved oral comfort.
  3. Aesthetic Improvements:
    Newer crowns are designed to mimic the natural translucency and shade of teeth. Whether it’s a porcelain or zirconia crown, the result is a beautiful, natural-looking smile.
  4. Durability:
    Modern crowns are constructed using materials that offer longer lifespans, resisting wear and potential damage from everyday activities.
  5. Diverse Options:
    With the advent of dental technologies, like CEREC same-day crowns, patients have a wider array of options for crown replacements. This allows for more personalised treatments that cater to individual needs and preferences.
  6. Enhanced Oral Health:
    A new crown can better ward off potential infections or decay so that the underlying tooth remains protected.

By embracing the replacement process when required, patients are investing not just in a beautiful smile but in long-term oral health and well-being.

Choosing the Right Material for Your Dental Crown

Selecting the ideal material for a dental crown replacement is paramount for its function and aesthetic appeal. Here’s a closer look at popular materials and their pros and cons:

Crown TypeProsCons
Porcelain Crowns

– Mimics natural translucency of tooth enamel.

– Stain-resistant; maintains its colour.

– Well-suited for front teeth due to aesthetics.

– Might wear down opposing teeth more than metal crowns.

– Less durable than metal; prone to chipping or cracking.

Zirconia Crowns

– Offers a superior natural colour match.

– Ideal for those with metal allergies.

– Extremely durable and can withstand wear and tear

– Not as natural-looking as porcelain crowns

– More expensive than other types

Resin Crowns

– Generally more affordable.

– Decent aesthetic appeal.

– Wears down easily.

– More prone to fractures.

Metal Crowns (Gold Alloys, Base Metal Alloys)

– Exceptional durability; resistant to chipping/breaking.

– Requires less removal of tooth structure.

– Minimal wear to opposing teeth.

– Metallic colour not for everyone; chosen for molars.

This table provides a side-by-side comparison of the various crown types, highlighting their respective advantages and disadvantages. It can serve as a handy reference for anyone weighing their dental crown replacement options.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Material for Your Dental Crown Replacement

Dental crowns are integral in restoring both the functionality and aesthetic appeal of damaged or decayed teeth. The choice of material plays a pivotal role in determining the longevity, appearance, and overall success of the crown. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Functionality:
    Molars require the use of strong materials due to the high chewing forces they encounter. These materials, especially metal, are renowned for their unmatched durability and resilience, making them adept at withstanding the constant pressures of grinding and biting without succumbing to wear or damage.
  • Location:
    Front teeth, being more visible, benefit from aesthetically appealing materials like porcelain. These materials are tailored to mimic the natural appearance of teeth, so that your smile remains consistent and radiant, with the crown seamlessly blending in with your natural teeth.
  • Colour Preference:
    For those seeking a crown that offers a natural tooth colour, porcelain or ceramic crowns emerge as top contenders. Their ability to replicate the natural translucency and shade of tooth enamel makes them a popular choice for those keen on maintaining a uniform appearance.

Before making a decision, it’s paramount to consult a dental professional who can provide advice on the most suitable material tailored to your specific needs. They will evaluate factors like the condition of your remaining tooth structure, your oral habits, and your aesthetic preferences, so that you get a crown that’s both functional and appealing.

Final Thoughts

Dental crowns play an integral role in restoring both the function and aesthetic appeal of one’s teeth. Regular check-ups at dental clinics like Darch Dental Centre help patients prolong the lifespan of their crowns and provide peace of mind:

  • Regular Monitoring:
    Dental check-ups allow for the early detection of potential issues with crowns or underlying teeth, enabling timely interventions.
  • Stay Informed:
    Knowledge empowers. Understanding the intricacies of dental treatments fosters confidence in the choices made.
  • Oral Health Routine:
    A well-maintained oral hygiene routine, including brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits, is the foundation for lasting dental health.
  • Proactive Measures:
    Addressing concerns proactively, be it a slightly displaced crown or discomfort, prevents complications down the road.

Your oral health deserves priority. For those considering a dental crown replacement or wanting a comprehensive dental evaluation, Darch Dental Centre awaits.

Book a consultation appointment by calling the clinic directly or through the Darch Dental Centre website. Your smile’s beauty is a testament to the care it receives.

Dr. Jon ( Junyi ) Ho

Dr. Jon is a Perth-based dentist who graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Science in 2005 from the University of Western Australia. He has worked at a range of dental practices, including being a partner and principal dentist for a group of five dental surgeries in Sydney. Dr. Jon has been practising for over a decade in the northern suburbs of Perth. He provides treatment for patients in Darch, Madeley, Landsdale, Kingsway, Kingsley, Marangaroo, Alexander Heights, Wangara, Ellenbrook, and others.

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