I have had porcelain crowns on my front teeth for over 15 years. They’ve been great, but one of them must be cracked. It’s next to impossible to see it, but I can feel it. Do you think it’s at risk for breaking? My fear is that it will crack in half at an embarrassing time. It’s something that I’m starting to think about more and more. It is toward the biting edge of the crown and it is horizontal. I can see it if I look very closely. Do you think this is a dental emergency? Does it need replaced?
-Pam in Missouri
Since it isn’t causing you discomfort or pain, a cracked porcelain crown isn’t necessarily a dental emergency. That said, it’s time to get it replaced. Once you detect a crack, it is only a matter of time. And if it’s already weighing on your mind, you should move forward with replacement. Finding a reputable cosmetic dentist in your area is the first step. You’re probably right, it would be embarrassing it broke off in a public setting.
Crowns and porcelain restorations have tiny lines that dentists refer to as craze lines. They are generally not concerning. But, since you can see it and feel it, it means there is some movement taking place with the crack. If you can see it, then it is a concern. The craze lines are not visible with the naked eye. Since you can see it, replacement is the way to go.
After consulting with your cosmetic dentist, it may be suggested that you get all of the front crowns replaced. It sounds like they are getting old. Although, if they are in good shape it isn’t absolutely imperative that all of them are replaced. If only the cracked crown is replaced, it will take a highly-skilled cosmetic dentist to ensure a perfect, seamless look. Cosmetic dentistry is like an art. Be careful in selecting a cosmetic dentist that has experience in replacing front crowns. Ask to see his or her portfolio of work. For example, if they automatically say you need to replace more than one, it may be an indication that they are not confident in their ability to match the surrounding teeth. It might be wise to talk to multiple cosmetic dentists to find the right one. Your front teeth are highly visible when you talk or eat and you deserve a beautiful restoration that you are confident in.
This post is sponsored by Flower Mound dentist Donald H. Currie, DMD.