News & Events

Understanding the Causes of Damaged or Cracked Dental Crowns

Posted on April 8th, 2014

Dr. Ferri and Dr. Lawrence use porcelain crowns to correct a number of dental conditions. Because these restorations are created specifically to match your natural teeth, they offer highly lifelike results. Crowns are also quite durable and typically last 10 to 15 years, if not longer. However, certain habits and conditions can damage your crowns, leading to chips and cracks. In this post, your Cary cosmetic dentists explain the causes of damaged crowns and what you can do to protect your restorations.

What Is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap. Made to look like your surrounding teeth in both shape and color, crowns can strengthen weakened teeth, repair cracked teeth, cover large fillings, and mask severe stains, among other functions. Crowns are also vital components of dental bridges and root canal therapy. Before placing a crown, Dr. Ferri or Dr. Lawrence will carefully reshape your compromised tooth to fit the restoration. Then the cosmetic dentist will take impressions of your tooth, which the dental lab will use to create your crown. Although crowns can be made of various materials, we offer all-porcelain restorations, which more closely match the look of natural teeth.

What Damages a Dental Crown?

Crowns are very durable, but, like natural teeth, they can still sustain damage. Common causes of damage include:

  • Decay: Although the crown itself is not susceptible to decay, your underlying tooth can still become infected. When bacteria infect the gum tissue surrounding the crown, the infection will eventually spread to your tooth, and you may require a root canal procedure. To prevent decay, you should brush and floss daily and make biannual visits to your dentist.
  • Malocclusion: If you have a misaligned bite, your teeth do not come together properly. Therefore, when you bite down, it puts uneven pressure on your teeth, and it can lead to cracks in your porcelain crown. If you have a misaligned bite, we can refer you to a trusted orthodontist for treatment.
  • Bruxism: Grinding your teeth can erode your dental enamel and your porcelain crown. (It can also lead to jaw pain, headaches, and TMJ disorder.) A mouthguard can help prevent grinding and protect your dental restorations.
  • Using your teeth as tools: If you habitually bite your nails, or if you use your teeth to open packages or perform other tasks, this can put immense pressure on your porcelain crowns and on your natural teeth, as well.
  • Outside force: Just like your teeth, your crown can break if you fall or get hit in the mouth. If you play high-contact sports, mouthguards can protect you from dental injury.

Already Have a Damaged Crown?

A cracked or broken crown can affect the functionality of your tooth, and it can impact the appearance of your smile. If you have a broken crown, Dr. Ferri or Dr. Lawrence can replace it with a new restoration. They are also happy to replace old metal crowns with new, more natural looking porcelain crowns.

Contact Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

At Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we provide comprehensive care for all of your general and cosmetic dental needs. For more tips on caring for your dental restorations or to schedule your porcelain crown replacement, call our office today.

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