A dental crown is a restoration option for a tooth that is severely decayed or damaged in some way. This tooth-shaped protective cap fits over your existing tooth so that the root can remain intact to hold the tooth in place. Once a crown is cemented into place it will remain there permanently in most cases.
But what do you do if your tooth develops a crack under the dental crown? Here’s how to handle a cracked tooth in order to have the best chance of saving it.
Seek Treatment Immediately for a Cracked Tooth
Whether or not you have an artificial crown, a cracked tooth requires immediate attention. Not only can a cracked tooth be painful, it can become damaged beyond saving. A cracked tooth is susceptible to infection, as the crack may allow bacteria to invade the dental pulp inside of the tooth.
How is a Cracked Tooth Under a Crown Treated?
Treatment for a cracked tooth that has an artificial crown will first require removal of the crown. After the crown has been removed, the dentist will carefully inspect the tooth to locate any and all cracks. The tooth may need a root canal if it hasn’t had one previously. A root canal involves removing the dental pulp from the inside of the tooth and replacing it with filling material to treat or prevent infection. If the original crown is still in good condition, it can then be replaced over the tooth. If not, a new crown can be made.
When is a Cracked Tooth Untreatable?
If you notice a visible crack in your tooth beneath your crown, there’s a good chance it extends below the gum line into the root. Cracks like these are often untreatable, requiring extraction and replacement of the tooth. Your dentist can assess the tooth and the crack to determine if treatment would be effective.
How Will I Know if I Have a Non-Visible Crack?
A crack in a tooth that exists under an artificial crown may not be visible. You will only be aware of the symptoms, such as:
- Sensitivity. A cracked tooth may suddenly develop sensitivity to cold, heat, sugar, or spice. This is because the crack exposes the nerves inside the tooth.
- Toothache. A crack in a tooth can allow bacteria to enter the tooth and infect the dental pulp, the soft tissue containing blood vessels and nerves. An infection can result in a painful toothache.
- Swelling of the gums. A tooth that is cracked or infected may cause the gum tissue around it to swell and become inflamed. If you notice swollen or red gum tissue around a tooth, it could indicate that the tooth has a crack below the crown.
What Happens if the Crown Itself Cracks?
An artificial crown is often made of porcelain, a durable material that resembles natural tooth enamel. Dental porcelain is manufactured to be extremely strong, but it can still crack under certain conditions. If your crown cracks, seek treatment immediately. A new crown will need to be placed over your tooth. Prompt treatment can prevent damage to the tooth material under the crown.
Renan Williams, DDS Provides Treatment for Cracked Teeth and Crowns
If your tooth develops a crack, either under a dental crown or in the crown itself, seek treatment immediately from Dr. R. Renan Williams. The sooner a cracked tooth is treated, the higher the chance that the tooth can be saved. A tooth with a crown has the advantage of the natural root that is still in place to provide support.