Can a Chipped or Fractured Porcelain Crown be Repaired?

As a busy dental office, we see some variation of this quite often:

“Doc, the porcelain on my front tooth veneer chipped. Can you fix it?”

The answer is yes, but there are some limitations. But let’s first look at a successful porcelain repair case we completed in our office.

Before and After Photos of Porcelain Bridge Repair

The photo below shows a patient of ours. He had a 7 unit dental bridge that he loved – and that had been in his mouth for over twenty years. An unfortunate slip in the bathroom led to him banging his tooth on a porcelain sink (notice the irony?) which led him to fracture off a huge chunk of the ceramic on his front tooth.

The porcelain chip was large, unsightly, and very noticeable. His greatest fear was that we would have to do a brand new bridge.

Before and After photo showing porcelain repair of a chipped dental bridge

In Round 1, in Dental Bridge vs. Sink, the Sink won. In Round 2, Dr. Nick emerges victoriously over the Sink and saves his patient’s bridge! Photos and dentistry by Dr. Nicholas Calcaterra.

We utilized the highest rated porcelain repair kit on the market. Leveraging this product, along with our expertise, we produced a phenomenal result. It took us approximately 1 hour. And the best part is that our patient did not need a new bridge.

The Details on Repairing Porcelain

If you noticed from the beginning of this post, we said that we could repair porcelain, but there were exceptions.

Cosmetic porcelain crowns, bridges, and veneers are made in a variety of ways. But nearly every method requires the porcelain to go to extremely high temperatures – like over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit! So to add porcelain to a crown in a predictable manner, you would need to put the crown into the firing oven. But that’s not possible given that there’s a person connected to the tooth!

So, the next best thing is to bond composite material to the fractured porcelain. Composites are the white material used in fillings and bonding. The challenge is that the bond from composite to porcelain is not that strong. Nevertheless, when done correctly, we can still get a good result, as you can see below:

Before and after photo porcelain fracture repair of front dental bridge

Another chipped dental bridge. You can see the underlying gold of the bridge. 45 minutes later, he walked out like the bridge was brand new! Photos and dentistry by Dr. Nicholas Calcaterra

His bridge was cemented in placed. So we bonded composite on there. Two years later, he still looks great!

How to Get a Porcelain Chip Repaired

If you have a chipped front crown, veneer, or bridge, you might just think you can call any dentist and have it taken care of. That is not always accurate for the following reasons:

  • Repairing porcelain is not an every day procedure for most dentists. So, many dentists simply do not know how to do it.
  • A dentist has to keep in stock a very specific (and expensive) porcelain repair kit. Most dentists don’t have this in stock.
  • Some larger fractures can be impossible to repair in a manner that lasts a while. In those cases, you may need to invest in a new crown, bridge, or veneer.

If you believe this is what you need, it never hurts to call and ask the dental office if they are able to do this type of procedure.

Request a consult to repair porcelain on a crown or bridge

Do you have a crown or veneer that is chipped? Interested in seeing if it can be repaired? Call us at (203) 799 – 2929 or visit this page to request an appointment.

 

About Nicholas Calcaterra DDS

Dr. Nicholas Calcaterra provides gentle and personalized dental care in our state of the art office in Orange, CT, with a special focus on IV Sedation. He is passionate about dentistry and enjoys using this website to educate and inform patients. He practices with his wife Dr. Carla Calcaterra.

Comments

  1. Jose E Torres says

    Good afternoon Dr. Calcaterra….I have fixed dental bridge on the bottom 4 front teeth which is anchored by the 2 adjacent teeth on either side..I was involved in a car accident on September 15, and ended up with a small crack on the top of one of my teeth on my bridge..My dentist says the whole thing may need to go if the crack gets bigger or if I start to feel pain or leakage..I am very upset because he basically didnt even want to try to at least fix or repair it..This bridge was also very costly, around $10,000..Can my bridge be repaired? I would appreciate your help, advice or guidance..Thank you..
    Sincerely,
    Jose..

    • Jose,

      Thank you for visiting our website.

      Your situation is more common than you think. We sympathize with you.

      Every porcelain fracture is different. There are many factors that can dictate whether a repair can be successful or not. These can include the size of the fracture, the location in your mouth, the way your teeth come together, etc. And in addition, not all dental offices are set up to do repairs.

      You can always seek a second opinion from another office. If you live in/near Connecticut and would consider coming to see us, we would be happy to look at a photo of your bridge to let you know if it is worth the trip.

      Good luck!

  2. Jayson McGraw says

    Hi there, this is a great and very informative article. I’m only 23 years old, but around 10 years ago i took a fall that damaged one of my top front teeth (the Maxillary central incisor according to Wikipedia). Which was repaired, but started to turn red earlier in the year, turned out it needed a root canal; and as you can probably guess I got a porcelain crown that replaced the old tooth. Just this morning though, for reasons unknown to me, i woke up with a small chip missing on the outer corner of the porcelain tooth, which baffles me since it was fine when i brushed my teeth going to bed the night before, and I haven’t hit it or bitten anything hard at all recently either. Is that normal at all? Should i be worried at all that it will deteriorate any further? I paid a lot of money to have the porcelain tooth installed, so I’m worried about having to pay to have it repaired, or possibly replaced (especially after only about 4 months of getting it), and most of all any possible pain that could come with that. the chip itself isn’t actually very noticeable, the outer edge of the tooth went from being a straight edge to now looking rounded off if that makes any sense.

    • Jayson,

      It is unfortunate that the crown chipped after less than a year. That is very uncommon. It is hard to tell what caused the chip though as there are many factors at play. To answer your question, the crown could potentially chip more or it could stay the same size. It would be unlikely that any pain would develop, as the tooth already had a root canal. The best bet is to contact the dentist who placed the crown. If I placed a crown on a patient and it chipped after only 4 months, I would want to know!

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