Man holding broken dental crown with tweezers and contemplating if it is a dental emergency

Is a Broken Crown a Dental Emergency? What To Do When a Crown Breaks

Chipping or losing a tooth can be shocking, worrisome, and even painful. Most folks instinctively know that if a tooth is loosened, hurts or there is blood involved, it’s best to call the dentist straight away. But what if you chip or lose a crown? You might be thinking, it’s not really a tooth, right? So do I need to call my dentist right away? And if it happens after hours or on a weekend, is this truly a dental emergency?

Alaska Dental Arts is your top choice for all your dental needs in Anchorage, Juneau and North Pole, including emergency dental services. Call us today and we will do our best to see you as quickly as possible. Whether you have broken a tooth, lost a crown or suffering from pain of an infected tooth, we strive to offer same day appointments for emergency dental care when possible!

Have a dental emergency? Don’t delay! Call Alaska Dental Arts to seek immediate care.

What Is a Dental Crown and Can it Break?

Dental crowns are hardy caps that cover teeth that have been damaged, either by breaking or infection. While a tooth may appear intact, when infection is brewing beneath the surface in the dental pulp and tooth nerves, a root canal may be required to clean out the inflamed area. A crown is then placed over the tooth to both protect the tooth and give a beautiful cosmetic appearance.

Although these porcelain caps are quite durable, they are not indestructible. Force blunt trauma, such as getting hit in the face with a ball, can cause sudden damage. Less noticeable stress such as teeth grinding or indulging in hard candy can cause damage over time, until suddenly the crown breaks, chips or even comes dislodged.

What to Do If My Crown Chips or Breaks

What to Do if Your Dental Crown Breaks Infographic

First and foremost, if you have experienced trauma to the head or neck, please seek medical attention through your family practice or emergency services. Alaska Dental Arts believes your overall well-being and safety are paramount. So please take care of first things first!

Assess the situation. Take a look and feel around. Is the crown chipped, broken or gone altogether? Can you find the missing pieces? Are there jagged surfaces that may cause damage to your cheeks or tongue? Is the crown completely dislodged and can you save it?

Give Alaska Dental Arts a call and be ready to describe what you see and feel. When you call, you will get a real, live person from our offices in Alaska! Together we will address your concerns and discuss the next steps you should take, whether that is coming in that day for a dental emergency appointment, scheduling for the next business day or in rare occasions, seeking a trip to the emergency room.

Can a Crown Be Reused?

Yes, sometimes they can, but it depends on the extent of the damage. If you lose a crown and can find it please save it for your dentist to take a look. If everything is still intact, your dentist may be able to secure it back on. If you do need a new crown, your Alaska Dental Arts dentist will take a new impression and fit you with a temporary crown to serve until your new permanent tooth crown is ready.

While you are waiting for your first appointment it may be possible to reattach your crown at home using dental wax. While this is not a long-term solution, if your crown is not damaged, it may hold temporarily until you can be seen by your dental care provider.

What If I Swallowed My Crown?

If a crown breaks while sleeping or eating and you cannot find it, it is possible it may have been swallowed. If you believe this to be the case, it is important for you to call your medical provider and let them know right away. Some patients report they are fully aware that they swallowed it, especially if it occurred while eating. In most cases the crown will pass unnoticed in a day or two.

However… not to be alarmists, but in the rarest of cases there may be complications. Though it is highly unlikely there is a possibility that the tiny crown may be inhaled by accident and become lodged in the lungs. If you wake up and discover a crown has been lost while sleeping, it is best to check the covers, bedding and pajamas first. If you or your doctor believe a crown or any foreign object has been aspirated, an X-ray is usually the first step your provider will take to confirm.

Can I Eat if I Have Lost a Crown?

If you are comfortable eating and chewing, then by all means, please do. We recommend avoiding sticky, gooey or crunchy foods until you’ve been seen by you Alaska Dental Arts dentist. Chewing on the opposite side of your mouth can be helpful as well. Also, applying a small amount of dental wax to the affected tooth can help prevent further damage to the tooth, cheeks and tongue when chewing. Dental wax is generally easy to find at most drug stores and works well to protect sensitive areas from jagged edges of the remaining tooth or crown.

What Do I Do for Pain?

Pain is a good indicator that something is wrong. Listen to your body and do not delay reaching out to Alaska Dental Arts. Our team of highly trained professionals understands that seeing the dentist can be scary and we are here to help make your experience as comfortable as possible. We recommend acetaminophen or ibuprofen to manage pain by over-the-counter options. If tooth pain becomes unbearable this could be an indication that something else is brewing beneath the surface. If blunt force trauma was involved, it possible that more than one tooth has been affected; or perhaps the jawbone or maxillofacial muscles have been injured as well.

Great Dental Care for All Alaskans

When you are experiencing a dental emergency, the last thing you need is to worry about the financial strain that sometimes accompanies services. Our goal is to make great dental care attainable for all Alaskans. We understand that postponing dental treatment can create a snowball effect, only compounding existing dental problems. We welcome our patients to share their needs and concerns openly so we can customize a payment plan to fit your budget perfectly.

Alaska Dental Arts accepts most types of insurance, as well as flexible financing through Credit Care third-party financing. Please bring your insurance card with you to each appointment to ensure we stay up to date.

Save on Services With Our Dental Savings Plan

To ensure all our patients can enjoy the same excellent dental care, we have created our own Dental Savings Plan, available for less than a dollar per day! Come take advantage of discounts on everything from crowns to implants and the lowest fee schedule in the state! Alaska Dental Arts Dental Savings Plan offers luxury cosmetic dentistry such as:

  • $1,000 OFF Invisalign
  • 50% OFF Teeth Whitening
  • Plus, No annoying claim forms, waiting periods or yearly maximums

Are you ready to enjoy luxury dental care from our caring dental professionals? Call Alaska Dental Arts today in Anchorage, Juneau or North Pole and let’s make your smile shine brighter than ever before!