When I got several porcelain crowns placed on my front teeth, one of them had a defect that the others did not. There has always been this horizontal line towards the bottom of one of my crowns; it’s difficult to see unless you’re looking for it, so it never bothered me before. However, now I can see the fracture line clearly and I can feel it when I run my tongue over it. I’m afraid of it breaking while I’m talking. I’ve had the crowns for over fifteen years, so I’m open to replacing them. Do I need to be seen immediately at an emergency dentist? Or can this wait until my general dentist can see me?
Ross, from Calvin, North Dakota
This sounds like a cosmetic emergency, but unless you’re in pain or have lost the crown, you don’t necessarily need to see an emergency dentist for this problem. However, instead of going to your general dentist, you should go see a cosmetic dentist. An expert cosmetic dentist can replace the crown. You should try to do this before it breaks completely, because it most likely will in the future. If this happens, you should see an emergency dentist for a temporary crown.
Porcelain crowns often have horizontal “craze” lines, and they are usually undetectable and nothing to worry about. However, since you can now feel the defect, it means your crown has shifted and is in need of replacing.
Depending on the cosmetic dentist you see, they may recommend replacing all of your porcelain crowns due to their age. There is no rush to do this if there are no problems with your crowns. Be aware that it is difficult to color-match a new crown to the older ones unless you go see an expert ceramist.
This blog post is brought to you Gilbert emergency dentist, Dr. Matthew Roper. Please note that cosmetic dentistry is not a specialty recognized by the ADA, but dentists like Dr. Roper have received additional post-graduate training in restorative dentistry, and have the experience to help their patients with their aesthetic concerns.