Broken Crowns And Dentures

Dental emergencies do not just affect your natural teeth and gums. They extend to include all of the things in your mouth, whether organic or artificial. Seeing as crowns, the most common artificial thing to appear in the mouth, are surrounded by organic material, and can thus cause harm in it, they also cause emergency appointments. They can also break, become dislodged, or inhaled, and these situations also constitute an emergency. Today I would like to talk a little about the dangers that a broken crown constitute, and how to best handle the problem.

Broken Crowns

Crowns consist of a porcelain outer shell and an internal structure which is usually made of metal, or more rarely zirconium oxide. Porcelain and the internal structures of the crown are harder than teeth, so it should be no surprise that an environment which evolved over the course of millions of years to house your teeth would not react so well to having something harder or different near it. The teeth next to and above or below the broken crown will become scratched up and possibly chipped or worn down. This can lead to caries and dentine hypersensitivity form the lack of enamel, which will eventually lead to toothache. 

When a crowns outer structure is broken, the edges are going to be sharp, and this can potentially cause damage in your oral cavity. Your gums and periodontium can become cut or otherwise jacked up from sharp and pointy surfaces interacting with it. The sharp edges of the broken crown can also cut the inside of your cheeks, and your tongue as well. 

Sometimes the crown will break nearer to the base, and this way there may be no sharp edges, or they may not come into contact with other teeth. This is essentially the same problem as when the crown pops off, and we have already dealt with this issue, please see our archive for help in dealing with that issue.  

What To Do

If there are sharp edges or pointy jutting portions of the crown, the first thing to do is to make it so that the crown will not cut up the inside of the mouth. This can be done via the help of orthodontic wax, if you put a little around the edges and on the ends that poke, you should see that they will become softer, more manageable, and less likely to hurt the chompers. If the piece that has been broken off can fit back easily, get some glue and glue it back on. But beware!! You have to check that the glue is safe and does not contain cyanoacrylate, as this is a product that contain cyanide, which is poisonous. Know that gluing the piece back and covering sharp edges with wax is only a temporary solution, and you will need to probably get the crown removed and get a new one. Sometimes they can fix existing crowns, but frequently nothing can be done, and a new crown is in order. Do NOT try to remove the crown yourself, as it is adhered to your tooth or dental implant, and you can hurt yourself trying to remove a broken crown, and fixing the damage you cause yourself is almost always more costly than just getting the crown removed professionally. 

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