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Is a Cracked Crown a Dental Emergency?

Posted by writeradmin

I’ve had porcelain crowns for over ten years. They’ve served me well. One of them has always had a minor defect, which I am told is quite common. You could never see it with a normal glance, but there has been a change in the last couple of days. Now I can see it and feel it. There is a horizontal line on the crown. Does this mean that I am in danger of losing the crown? Would it be considered a dental emergency?


Dear Katherine,

A porcelain crown being placed on a tooth

While I would not consider it a dental emergency, I would have it attended to soon. Your dentist was correct that crowns can have minor defects. They’re generally called craze lines. Usually, they are not an issue. Yours has obviously changed, though, if you can see and feel it. I do think it will eventually break.

You have a couple of options here. First, is to just replace the one defective crown. Your other is to replace all the crowns at the same time. Which you do will depend on the condition of the crowns and your budget. The benefit to doing them all at once is that you don’t have to replace them one at a time as they age. However, if they’re all still in good condition, you might not want to do that.

Beware of a dentist telling you that you have to change all of them at the same time in order to get them to match. That is not necessary and a dentist should be able to match a single crown. It may take a few try ins, but it can be done.

For now, just call your dentist and schedule an appointment to have the remainder of the crowns looked at. Then you can decide wether or not to replace just the one that had developed a problem or all of them at once. While I did say it is not an emergency, I wouldn’t wait too long. This one is going to fail.

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