Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

What to Do if You Have a Chipped or Broken Crown

Experiencing a chipped or broken dental crown can be unsettling. Not only does it disrupt the aesthetic continuity of your smile, but it can also lead to discomfort or even pain if the underlying tooth is exposed. Dental crowns are meant to protect and strengthen a tooth, so when one breaks, it’s essential to address the issue promptly. Understanding the steps to take when a dental crown breaks is crucial in preventing further damage and ensuring timely and effective repairs. Here’s a detailed guide on how to handle a situation where your dental crown is compromised.

1. Evaluate the Extent of the Damage

The first thing to do when you realize you have a broken or chipped crown is to assess how bad the damage is. Is the crown slightly chipped, or is it broken enough to expose part of your tooth? If the damage is minimal, the urgency to see a dentist might not be as high, though you should still schedule an appointment. However, if the crown is severely damaged or completely off, it’s critical to take immediate action to protect the tooth and alleviate pain.

2. Protect the Tooth

After evaluating the damage, the next step is to ensure that the affected tooth is protected until you can see your dentist. If the crown has fallen off completely, try to keep it in a safe place so you can bring it to your dental appointment. You can cover the tooth with a piece of sugar-free gum or use dental cement available at most pharmacies. This temporary solution can help protect the tooth from sensitivity to temperature and prevent food particles from getting stuck.

3. Contact Your Dentist Promptly

Don’t wait to contact your dentist when a dental crown breaks. Most dental practices have procedures in place for emergency situations like this. Explain the situation over the phone, and provide details about the damage and any pain you’re experiencing. Your dentist will likely prioritize your visit and may offer immediate advice or temporary solutions over the phone.

4. Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Maintaining oral hygiene is crucial, especially when dealing with a damaged crown. Be gentle when brushing the affected area to avoid further damage or dislodging the tooth. It’s advisable to rinse your mouth with salt water to reduce the risk of infection and manage inflammation. Keeping the tooth and your mouth clean helps prevent complications before you can get professional treatment.

5. Avoid Certain Foods and Habits

Until you can get to the dentist, it’s wise to avoid foods and habits that could exacerbate the issue. Steer clear of hard, sticky, or chewy foods that might pull on or impact the damaged crown. Also, avoid extremely hot or cold beverages which could cause pain if the underlying tooth is exposed. Try to chew on the opposite side of your mouth to minimize pressure on the damaged crown.

Managing Pain

If you experience pain after your dental crown breaks, over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help manage discomfort. Applying a cold pack to the cheek near the affected area can also reduce swelling and alleviate pain.

Prevention Tips

To prevent future incidents with dental crowns, consider the following tips:

  • Wear a Mouthguard: If you grind your teeth or participate in sports, wearing a mouthguard can protect your crowns from damage.
  • Avoid Hard Foods: Hard candies, ice, and other similar foods can be detrimental to dental crowns.
  • Maintain Regular Dental Checkups: Regular visits allow your dentist to monitor the integrity of your crown and address any potential issues before they lead to breaks.

What to Expect at the Dentist

When you visit your dentist for a broken crown, they will assess the damage and determine the best course of action. This might involve repairing the existing crown, re-cementing it, or creating a new crown depending on the extent of the damage and the condition of the underlying tooth.


A chipped or broken dental crown is a common dental emergency that needs immediate attention. Knowing what steps to take when a dental crown breaks can significantly impact the outcome and your overall oral health. Protect the tooth, contact your dentist immediately, and take preventive measures to avoid similar issues in the future. Remember, timely and effective treatment not only saves the tooth but also restores your smile and confidence.

CALL (346) 214-4807