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Causes of Damaged Dental Crowns: How to Protect Your Restorations

Dr. Degel Apr 5, 2015

Man smiling with glasses and white teeth on a gray backdropIf you suffer from extensive decay, an infected pulp, or a fracture, Dr. Clifford Degel or Dr. Carmen Every-Degel can place a dental crown to cover and protect your tooth. This treatment can improve your oral health and enhance the appearance of your smile after dental damage. We offer durable metal, ceramic, and porcelain dental crowns to repair your teeth, but these restorations may not last forever. A typical dental crown can last up to 15 years or longer with proper care, but your oral hygiene and habits can compromise your restorations and cause further dental issues. Below, we explain the most common causes of damaged dental crowns and how our Astoria dental team can help you take care of your restorations to preserve and protect your smile.

What Is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is a metal, ceramic, or porcelain restoration custom made to fit over your tooth from the chewing surface to the gums. To place a dental crown, our dentists begin by treating the underlying issue, such as tooth decay or an infected pulp. Next, we place dental filling material as needed to improve the underlying structure, shape the tooth so it can hold a crown, and slide the restoration over the tooth. This process typically requires two appointments, which gives us time to create your crown based on the unique impression we take of your damaged tooth.

Causes of Damaged Dental Crowns

There are numerous ways this type of restoration can become chipped, cracked, warped, or misaligned. These include:

  • Caries. If decay damages the enamel beneath the crown, the crown may become dislodged or begin to slip off of the tooth.
  • Malocclusion. An improper bite can put undue pressure on your crown, causing it to fracture, chip, or shift.
  • Injury. The force of an accident or other oral trauma can chip, crack, or misalign your crown.
  • Teeth grinding. Some patients suffer from a condition known as bruxism, in which they grind their teeth together due to stress, misalignment, or other oral problems. This can wear down the chewing surface of or break a crown. 
  • Poor dental habits. You must treat your dental crown properly to preserve it. Inadvisable behaviors such as biting on ice cubes and using your teeth to open packages can damage your crown. In addition, failing to properly brush, floss, and rinse your teeth can damage your crown by raising your risk for decay, gum disease, or other issues in the surrounding enamel.

Symptoms of Damaged Restorations

You may have a damaged crown if:

  • You see a crack, chip, hole, or any other abnormality with your restoration when you brush and floss your teeth.
  • You notice that your gums have become more sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure near your crown.
  • Your teeth feel suddenly misaligned.
  • You notice a jagged or rough texture on your chewing surfaces or the sides of your teeth.
  • The tooth the crown protects develops a toothache.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, contact our office for an appointment. Patients often have damaged dental crowns without realizing it, so it is important to attend your regular cleanings and examinations, during which our dentists will assess your restorations to ensure they are functioning properly.

Replacing a Dental Crown

Unfortunately, in most cases, if your dental crown becomes damaged, we will need to replace it. We may be able to repair minor chips or fractures with bonding material or other means, but since the purpose of the restoration is to protect your weakened tooth, it is important to keep the crown intact. During the crown replacement procedure, we will remove the damaged crown, treat any dental conditions affecting the underlying tooth, and place a new custom-made restoration. Our dentists will also work with you to treat the issue that caused the dental crown to become damaged, if needed. For example, we may recommend that patients who suffer from bruxism wear night guards to protect their new restorations from harm.

Contact Astoria Dental Group

If you suspect you may have a damaged dental crown or simply want to better preserve your restoration, do not hesitate to contact our dental practice and schedule an appointment with one of our dentists.

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