Can you help me figure something out? I have had a few dental crowns for about 15+ years. They’ve always done really well. From the beginning, one of them had a slight defect. You couldn’t see it with the naked eye. It required some microscopic equipment. Lately, though, I can both see it AND feel it. There appears to be a tiny horizontal crack in it near the bottom. I’m going on the assumption that I will need to replace this crown, but have a couple of questions.
1. Would this be considered a dental emergency, where I need to try to get in right away.
2. Should I just replace this crown or replace them all at once because they are the same age?
You’ve gotten some good use out of those crowns and I am thrilled that they have served you so well. You said this tooth had always had a tiny defect. This is not uncommon. Even our natural teeth sometimes have what we call graze lines. These are usually of no concern. Yours has taken a decided turn, however.
I will start with your first question. While the crown will need to be replaced, I would not consider it to be a dental emergency. That being said, I do think in the fairly near future you are looking at a complete break so you may want to go ahead and schedule the appointment at a time that is convenient to you. This way, you don’t end up with a broken crown and having to squeeze an appointment in at an inconvenient time.
As to whether or not you should replace all the dental crowns or just this one, that depends on a few factors. I would start by having your dentist examine all the crowns to see what type of condition they are in. If they are in good shape, you may just want to replace the one damaged crown. Bear in mind, I don’t know where this crown is placed. If it is for a front tooth, you will need an expert cosmetic dentist to get a good match on a single crown. If it is further back, then it is not as big a deal because they are easier to match.
If you have the budget to do so, you may find it more convenient to replace all of the crowns simultaneously so you just get it over with. Though a higher cost up front, some patients find that easier to deal with than the stress and constant cost of the death by a thousand cuts approach.
If the crowns are about to go anyway, you really don’t have much of a choice and should replace them now so you don’t end up with broken crowns.
This blog is brought to you by West Seneca Dentist Dr. Carl Embury.