Most people can expect their dental crowns to last about 10 years on average. They’re made of durable materials like porcelain or a ceramic substance like lithium disilicate. But they’re not able to withstand certain things you might subject them to, like eating sticky taffy or chewing on pens.
If you’ve cracked or lost a crown, you may be wondering what to do next. Having a cracked or missing crown may be an emergency, or it may not be. Either way, it is definitely something you should have checked out. For more tips on handling a cracked or missing crown, the providers at Dental Art of South Bay offer this helpful guide.
The purpose of a crown
A crown is a ceramic or porcelain cap that fits over your natural tooth.
Crowns are put into place to protect the natural tooth underneath, which is damaged in some way. Some of the common reasons for crowns are as follows:
- To protect a cracked or weak tooth
- To support a natural tooth that has a deep filling without much natural tooth remaining
- To provide support for a dental bridge
- As a top for dental implants
- To cover a severely discolored or misshapen tooth
- To cover a tooth after a root canal
Although most crowns last for 5-10 years, they’re not permanent. Their lifespan depends on several factors, including the material they’re made of and how well you take care of them.
The risks of a cracked or missing crown
You might not consider it to be an emergency if you have a cracked or missing crown, especially if it’s not causing pain. Regardless, you should take it seriously enough to schedule an appointment.
One reason that you should fix a cracked or missing crown is because your crown protects your natural tooth underneath from decay. The natural tooth underneath is especially vulnerable to tooth decay because it isn’t protected by dentin and tooth structures.
Your natural tooth is also vulnerable to bacteria. This can quickly turn into an abscess and become a serious health risk.
In addition, you may be at risk of damaging the natural tooth underneath, especially if it’s particularly weak.
You may also feel more tooth sensitivity, especially to hot or cold temperatures, because of a cracked or missing crown. This is because the tooth’s roots are more exposed.
Finally, if your crown supports a bridge, a missing crown can make the bridge feel loose.
What to do if you have a cracked or missing crown
If you have a cracked or missing crown, the first thing you should do is to call our office and make an appointment to be seen as soon as possible.
If the crown is only loose, remove it from your mouth and bring it into the office. We may be able to reattach it.
Don’t use over-the-counter products to try to cement the crown back in place; it may not work and you risk swallowing the crown.
If your crown is cracked, we can examine the severity of the crack and determine if it can be repaired or if it needs to be entirely replaced.
If you have a cracked or missing crown, contact the providers at Dental Art of South Bay right away. Your crown has an important role in protecting your oral health. Call us today or request an appointment online.