Is a cracked porcelain crown an emergency?

My front teeth have had porcelain crowns for many years. The left one has had a small imperfection on it all this time, but is was not visible to the eye. However, I am now beginning to see it and am able to feel it. I worry that the crown will soon break and I will lose it. If replacing the crown is necessary, I’ll go that route, but want to be sure this is not something for which I should see an emergency dentist.

Thank you,

Dear Eric,

While this is not an emergency, it would be a good idea to find an experienced cosmetic dentist and have the crown replaced. If not, you are correct, you will chance it completely breaking.

You mentioned that, while your crown has always had a slight imperfection, you were unable to see it or feel it. This is called a craze line. Teeth and porcelain have these and they are typically no reason for concern. However, you mentioned that you are now able to see the defect, as well as feel it. This indicates there has been movement which has resulted in the now visible difference in the surface of the crown.

Once a cosmetic dentist has the opportunity to assess the crowns, he or she may suggest replacing all of them, due to their age, or just the one. If just the one crown is replaced, the color-matching skill of the dentist will need to be excellent, in order to ensure the new crown matches the original ones. Do be cautious if you are told that the only way to ensure a perfect color match is to replace all of the crowns. That is a clear sign that the dentist does not have the skill-set to match the new crown to the original one.

This post is sponsored by Phoenix emergency dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.

Are lumineers a good option for your teeth?

Many dental professionals have differing opinions regarding Lumineers. Below is a breakdown of information to aid you in determining if they are the best dental option for you.

How do Lumineers work?

Just like Nike is a brand of shoes and Pepsi is a brand of soda, Lumineers is a brand of veneers. And, just like Pepsi and Nike, there are other brands of incredibly thin veneers, as well as unbranded options.

Ultra-thin veneers improve smiles in many ways

  • More vivid and uniform tooth coloring
  • Repair chips
  • Close gaps
  • Creates a celebrity-like smile

No-prep or low-prep option
Porcelain veneers are traditionally used to create a celebrity-like smile. In these veneers, a porcelain layer is applied to the front of the tooth, and around the sides and biting surface. A small portion of the tooth’s structure will need to be removed anywhere where the porcelain is, in order for the shell to fit naturally and create a uniform look. If a tooth is unstraight, or sticks out further than its neighbor teeth, more of the tooth’s structure may be taken off, in order for it to look straight once the veneer is on. Not all patients need such changes though, and for these cases, the ultrathin option is ideal. The are approximately as thick as a fingernail, and some of the brands claim that no prepping or removing of the tooth’s structure is necessary with the veneer be placed on top. However, this is rarely the case, as additional bulk is created, as well as an unnatural look, resulting in unhappy patients. Therefore, dentists tend to use the ultra-thin veneers as a low-prep alternative.

Do Lumineers harm your teeth?

Whether it be traditional, low-prep, or no-prep option, placing veneers will permanently alter the structure of a tooth. Even the no-prep alternative roughens the surface of the tooth to allow the veneer shell to adhere. Because the change to the tooth is permanent with any of these options, there will always need to be a covering on that tooth.

Ultra-thin veneers are a safe option

The ultra-thin veneers are an approach that is minimally invasive, yet can yield significant results. They are the effective choice when a smile makeover is desired, but teeth are not in need of extensive alterations. However, they are not always the most appropriate option for every scenario. For some people that are not a candidate for the ultra-thin option, the traditional porcelain veneers are a good alternative. A small amount of enamel is removed in both situations.

This article is brought to you by Phoenix Lumineer dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.