Is a chipped crown a dental emergency?

A chipped crown, also known as a damaged crown, can be an unsettling experience, raising concerns about the need for immediate dental attention. While not all chipped crowns require immediate treatment, it’s crucial to understand the factors that determine whether it constitutes a dental emergency.

Assessing the Severity of a Chipped Crown

The severity of a chipped crown depends on several factors:

  • Extent of the Chip: A small, superficial chip may not pose a significant issue, while a larger, deeper chip may expose the underlying tooth structure, increasing the risk of sensitivity or infection.

  • Location of the Chip: A chip on the biting surface of a tooth may cause discomfort or affect chewing, while a chip on the back or side of a tooth may not cause immediate problems.

  • Associated Symptoms: If the chip is accompanied by pain, sensitivity, bleeding, or swelling, it may indicate a more serious underlying issue.

Determining the Need for Emergency Care

In general, a chipped crown is not considered a dental emergency unless it is causing significant pain, sensitivity, or bleeding. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to contact your dentist promptly to assess the situation and determine if immediate treatment is necessary.

Possible Treatment Options for Chipped Crowns

Treatment options for a chipped crown depend on the severity of the damage:

  • Minor Chips: Minor chips may be repaired with dental bonding, a tooth-colored composite material that can restore the crown’s appearance and function.

  • Moderate Chips: For more moderate chips, a portion of the crown may need to be replaced with a new crown.

  • Extensive Chips: In cases of extensive damage, the entire crown may need to be replaced.

Preventive Measures to Minimize Chipping

To reduce the risk of chipping your crown, consider these preventive measures:

  • Avoid Hard or Sticky Foods: Avoid biting into hard or sticky foods, as these can put excessive stress on the crown and increase the likelihood of chipping.

  • Wear a Mouthguard: If you grind your teeth at night, consider wearing a mouthguard to protect your teeth from damage.

  • Schedule Regular Dental Checkups: Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings to monitor the condition of your crowns and identify any potential problems early on.


While a chipped crown may not always be a dental emergency, it’s important to assess the severity of the damage and contact your dentist if you experience any associated symptoms. By following preventive measures and maintaining good oral hygiene, you can help prevent chipping and extend the lifespan of your dental crowns. Please find the dental office near you in these locations: Attleboro, Chelmsford, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Lynn, Manchester, Methuen, Roslindale, Taunton.

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