Emergency Dental Crown Repairs – What You Need to Know

Dental crowns play an important role in restoring damaged or decayed teeth, improving smiles, and enabling proper chewing and function. But like anything subjected to the stresses of daily use, crowns can become damaged and require emergency repair.

If one of your dental crowns cracks, chips, becomes loose or falls out it is important to seek urgent attention to avoid additional oral health issues and restore comfort and confidence.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about emergency dental crown repairs including:

  • What can go wrong with dental crowns
  • Common signs you need an emergency crown repair
  • The crown repair process step-by-step
  • Types of crown repair treatments
  • Factors affecting the cost to fix crowns
  • Tips to prevent crown emergencies

Understanding Dental Crown Emergencies

Dental crowns, also known as caps, are custom-made tooth coverings used to protect weakened teeth. Made from ceramic, porcelain fused to metal, zirconia, or gold alloy, crowns fully encase the visible portion of the tooth down to the gum line.

Well-made crowns should last 5-15 years with proper dental care. However, crowns do fail earlier sometimes due to:

  • Poor crown preparation and placement by your dentist
  • Excessive grinding, chewing or biting forces
  • Trauma and injury to the mouth
  • Tooth decay developing underneath the crown
  • Changes in tooth alignment over time

One of the most common crown emergencies is when they become loose. This can allow oral bacteria to leak underneath the crown resulting in decay, infection and gum disease. Loose crowns also shift when chewing allowing more debris to enter which can be painful. In some cases, a loose crown may simply fall out while eating or brushing.

Other common crown emergencies include:

  • Chipped or cracked crowns that expose the tooth underneath
  • Loss of a section of the crown due to fracture
  • A crown that suddenly feels uncomfortable due to gum inflammation or bite issues

Any kind of crown damage that exposes dentin or irritates soft tissues requires prompt attention to avoid dental problems.

Signs You Need Emergency Dental Crown Repair

How can you tell if your dental crown needs emergency repair versus just a small adjustment by your emergency dentist? Some of the most common signs:

  • Crown feels loose, rocks back and forth or twist with little pressure
  • Portions of natural tooth visible underneath cracks or holes in crown
  • Crown suddenly feels uncomfortable when biting or touching it
  • Hot, cold or sugary foods cause sharp crown pain
  • Crown fell out while eating or you swallowed it accidentally

Crowns may not always visibly appear damaged, so pay attention to any temperature sensitivity or discomfort that seems to originate from beneath a crown. This can indicate an improperly fitting crown or underlying tooth decay needing urgent care.

If a crown falls out, place it safely in mouthwash or milk until you can bring it with you for repair. Never try to glue or cement it back in yourself.

The Emergency Dental Crown Repair Process

If you experience any symptoms of crown damage or failure, we recommend coming in immediately for evaluation and repair. Here is what the crown restoration process typically involves:

Initial Appointment

  • Examination – We check for crown cracks and damage and test surrounding gum health for signs of inflammation or infection.
  • Diagnosis – Next, the specific cause of crown failure is diagnosed whether it is decay, poor fitting or gum disease.
  • Treatment Plan – Once we determine why your crown failed and the best way to restore it, we discuss repair options and costs in detail.
  • Temporary Crown Placement – We often place a temporary replacement crown the same day while ordering your custom permanent new crown. Temp crowns serve an important protective purpose.

Crown Repair Appointment(s)

  • Impressions and Bite Registration – Highly accurate molds of your teeth are taken to ensure replacement crowns or bridges fit perfectly. Complex cases require multiple appointments.
  • Local Anesthetic – For crown prep involving trimming of damaged tooth structure, a local anesthetic is often administered for your comfort.
  • Permanent Crown Cementing – About 2 weeks later, your precision-made ceramic, zirconia or gold crown is tried on for fit and color match before permanent attachment to the prepared tooth.

Proper crown placement and contact with other teeth ensures comfort, function and longevity of repair work. We adjust crowns carefully and may recommend a nightguard if you grind your teeth which can dislodge crowns. Follow-up visits to check repairs ensures problems get resolved promptly.

Types of Emergency Dental Crown Repairs

Several crown restoration options exist depending on what exactly caused the crown failure and how severely the underlying tooth is damaged.

Re-cementing Loose Crowns 

Crowns cemented improperly or that come loose on their own can sometimes be re-cemented quickly back into place if underlying tooth decay is not too advanced.

Crown Repair 

Moderate fracture cracks, chips or holes may be repairable on-site with tooth-colored bonding materials for a minimally invasive crown restoration. For more damaged crowns, new fabrication is best long-term.

Prefabricated Stainless Steel Crowns
Made ahead of time in standard sizes, these affordable and durable stainless crowns can serve as temporary emergency crowns or longer term protection for back molars.

Custom Crown Replacement 

Fully damaged crowns or ones that cannot be recemented or repaired require custom fabrication and fitting of new ceramic, zirconia or gold crowns matched to surrounding teeth. This restoration process takes several appointments.

The Cost to Repair or Replace Emergency Crowns

The cost of emergency dental crown repair or replacement depends on what type of treatment is necessary which is determined after a thorough exam by your dentist. Some factors affecting crown repair costs include:

  • Number of teeth involved – restoring crown bridges costs more
  • Amount of tooth trimming and reshaping needed
  • Type of crown used – gold vs ceramic
  • Lab fees for multiple custom crowns
  • Additional procedures needed like root canals or dental implants
  • Your insurance coverage – plans vary widely

While emergency crown repair costs can range widely from $250 up to $3000 or more, there are affordable ways to get crowns restored quickly short-term and more permanently. Getting inspections at the first sign of issues keeps costs down over the long run too.

Preventing Future Emergency Crown Repairs

While dental crowns are meant to last years, problems can occur eventually requiring urgent care. Some tips to help avoid emergency crown failures include:

  • Have crowns placed only by highly experienced dentists
  • Follow excellent oral hygiene habits daily
  • Wear a nightguard if you clench or grind teeth
  • Avoid chewing excessively hard foods like ice or nuts
  • See your dentist right away if your crown feels uncomfortable or loose

Prompt care for minor crown discomfort can resolve small problems before they turn into dental disasters requiring emergency repair. Know the signs your crown needs attention and seek care as soon as possible.

In Conclusion…

Getting quality emergency care quickly minimizes discomfort, additional tooth damage, and repair costs when dental crown problems occur unexpectedly. We have the advanced technology, skills and experience to get your crown repaired correctly the first time. Contact us 24/7 to schedule urgent tooth crown repair and care.