Porcelain crowns are a versatile and long-lasting restorative dentistry solution that is both attractive and functional. After a few decades of wear, however, a crown can pop out simply due to age or become displaced by a car accident, fall, or sports injury. Whatever your situation, if your crown has come loose, it needs to be replaced. The only question is: What is the best restorative dentistry solution for fixing your broken crown?
Any restorative dentistry solutions that suddenly break should be accompanied by an immediate call to your dentist for instructions about what’s next. With a crown, you can deal with the inconvenience for a few days until you’re able to get to the dentist, but you don’t want to wait too long for two reasons. One, you don’t want to expose that broken tooth to food and bacteria for too long. And, two, in most situations, a crown is covering a gnarly-looking, broken tooth – and no one wants to walk around with that unsightly tooth showing in their mouth for too long.
Here are just four possible options for repairing your broken crown that you and your dentist will likely discuss as you work toward the best solution for your problem:
1. New porcelain crown: It might seem that the most logical choice for replacing your broken crown would be to have the old crown bonded back into place. But if the crown has broken off then it is likely compromised in some way. And, frankly, it’s old, so your chances of maintaining a strong crown in your mouth would be better served by having a new porcelain crown put in place. With dental innovations like CEREC that allow your new crown to be customized and created on-site in the dentist’s office, you have a good chance of going home with a dental solution the same day that you go to your dentist with your broken crown.
2. Partial crown: Often referred to as a partial crown, a dental onlay is often used to correct a broken or jagged tooth. If a tooth is in need of more than a filling but can perhaps be repaired with less than a crown, a composite onlay is layered over the tooth. This technique is also responsible for creating new cusps of the tooth, while strengthening the tooth structure. Why would a partial crown work now when a whole crown was needed in the past? Dental materials have improved and they continue to get better year after year. You may only need a partial crown to correct your problem, and that means a less invasive procedure that offers a long-lasting solution.
3. Dental bonding: When you really need a quick solution for your broken crown, dental bonding may be one of your best options. Not all broken crown patients will qualify for this procedure – its ability to work truly depends on how compromised your tooth is to begin with – but if dental bonding is an option, it can usually be completed in one dental visit. Tooth-colored resin is applied to your tooth repeatedly to build up the tooth’s structure, eliminating any jagged or bumpy edges. Once the resin is hardened and bonded to your tooth, the tooth is sculpted into a natural-looking shape and color so it blends with the rest of your teeth to look right at home.
4. Dental implant: In some broken crown situations, replacing the crown is not an option. Your original tooth may be so weakened and decayed under the crown that it needs to be extracted completely. In situations like this, you may be tempted to just deal with the hole in your smile, but a missing tooth comes with its own set of problems including a sagging jaw and sunken-in cheeks. A dental implant replaces the tooth root and is affixed with a prosthetic tooth for complete functionality and comfort. You’ll never have to worry about a crown or any other restorative dentistry solution ever again with a dental implant. 
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Have a tooth crown emergency, problem, or question? Make your appointment with Dr. John Moore at Cosmetic Dental Associates in San Antonio to learn more about restorative dentistry solutions.