Crowns, in general, are not supposed to break. Considering that their primary purpose is to protect the teeth that they crown, the crowns should last a reasonable amount of time. However, there are situations where a crown may be broken, either as a major blow to the jaw, when a crown is entirely resin only, or when a patient suffers from bruxism and grinds hard into a resin crown all night, every night. Regardless of how you broke a crown recently, here is what will happen next.
An Emergency Appointment with Your Dentist
A broken crown is a very serious dental event. The tooth that was shaped so that the crown could fit over the top is now exposed. There is nothing protecting it, given that the tooth was ground down to a nub for a crown. What is left can be destroyed by decay in a matter of a few weeks, and infection can set in very quickly. Additionally, the nerve of the tooth may be exposed. If you are not howling in pain with the crown missing, you are either really lucky or the tooth is somehow already dead. Regardless, the situation requires an emergency appointment with your dentist.
The Rest of the Broken Crown Is Carefully Removed
In some cases, the crown may break, but part of it remains adhered to the actual tooth. This a big problem, because only your dentist can carefully remove the rest of the broken crown without damaging the tooth nub underneath. Do not try to remove the rest of the crown yourself! Attempting to do so will only result in damage to the tooth nub, and subsequently the possible removal of that tooth nub. Let your dentist remove the rest of the crown.
The Tooth Nub Is Examined for Damage
Next, the dentist examines the tooth nub that was crowned. He/she is looking for cracks and damage, plus any signs of decay. If the nub is still fine, the dentist will make a new crown to affix to the nub. If there is damage or decay, the dentist will discuss some options with you in terms of how to either save the tooth or remove it completely and possibly replace it with an implant or bridge.
The Chosen Procedure Is Executed
If your dentist is just going to replace the crown, that is what he/she does. However, if you have to select a different procedure, the dentist begins that process. Usually, whatever you choose has to be completed within a week or two of breaking the crown in order to save and protect the tooth, or remove the tooth to prevent infection. Talk with a dentist if you have questions about dental crowns.