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Is a Cracked Crown a Dental Emergency

I have about five dental crowns which I’ve had for close to twelve years. One of them has always had a minor defect, that you’d have to know was there to really notice it. Lately, though, it has changed and now I can see it and feel it with my tongue. There is a horizontal fracture on it and I’m worried it is going to break when I am out in public. I’m sure I need to replace it. Would this be a dental emergency or am I overreacting?


Dear Azalea,

An upper row of front teeth, one of which is prepared for a same-day crown. The porcelain crown is next to the prepared tooth.

Both teeth and porcelain crowns can have something called craze lines. While they are not normally a problem, it definitely sounds like your crown has had a definite change that will make it a problem. While I would not necessarily consider it a dental emergency where you would need to be seen right away, I would get it fixed at your earliest convenience. It will have a complete break at some point.

Depending on how well they are made, the other crowns may still last you a few years or may be ready to be replaced themselves. That gives you a couple of choices. If you just want to save time and get them all replaced at once that is an option. However, that would be quite a dent in your budget.

The second choice is to leave the rest as they are and just get them replaced as needed. This allows you to break up the cost, making it more affordable, but it does mean several trips to the dentist as needed. You should be aware that some dentists offer same day crowns. I would not recommend them on a front tooth, but they are fine for the other teeth.

I hope this helps.

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