No More Natural Teeth: Deciding Between Implants and Dentures

Do Dentists Usually Repair Or Replace Damaged Dental Crowns?

by Jeremiah Barnett

Dental crowns are usually clinical (used to correct a specific dental problem) but also have tremendous cosmetic value. The damaged tooth is safe and secure beneath the porcelain crown fitted over it, which also improves the appearance of the tooth. Even though a crown protects a damaged tooth, the crown itself is not immune from being damaged. When a crown receives a crack or a chip, are repairs possible, or will you need to pay for a new dental restoration?

Crown Damage

A crown can be damaged in many of the same ways as a natural tooth, whether it's because of physical impact to the mouth, or perhaps due to biting down on something inappropriately hard. However, a crown can't decay like a natural tooth—because it's made of porcelain and so isn't susceptible to tooth decay. 


It's important to remember that a porcelain dental crown is ultra-thin (and it needs to be in order to fit over your tooth). As such, any damage that breaches the crown may also have damaged the tooth. In such extreme cases, the crown must be removed so that the underlying tooth can be repaired. A severely damaged crown is ordinarily replaced. What about more minor scrapes and chips?

Other Dental Materials

Even though a permanent crown is made of porcelain, it can be combined with other dental materials if it should ever be in need of repairs. A gap in a porcelain dental restoration isn't necessarily repaired with porcelain. Your dentist will use a composite dental resin (the same material used to fill a cavity) formulated to be the exact same color as the crown. This can be described as a chairside repair since the patching material is applied directly to the crown while you sit in the treatment chair. The crown generally isn't removed—because it doesn't have to be.

Completing Repairs

The patched crown is then treated with a special curing light, which immediately hardens the resin. Any sharp or irregular edges will be filed down to protect your tongue and the other soft tissues in your mouth. Your crown is now repaired, and the changes to its structure shouldn't weaken it. However, all dental restorations will be checked as part of your regular dental checkups, so it's important that you attend these—allowing any subsequent issues to be noted as early as possible.

A cracked dental crown can continue to deteriorate without repairs, further jeopardizing the tooth underneath. Minor chips and cracks can be efficiently repaired while you wait and is a better option than letting the crown's damage worsen—after which point you'll have no choice but to get a new one.

To learn more about dental crowns, contact a dentist in your area.