Is the Dentist Responsible for a Failed Crown?

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It is estimated that about 3% of crowns fail within 10 years. Who’s to blame? Is the Dentist Responsible for a Failed Crown?

Is the Dentist Responsible for a Failed Crown?

The dentist’s responsibility for a failed crown depends on the cause, he can be blamed for the poor fit or faulty material. However, crowns also fail due to poor oral hygiene.

If the failure occurs soon after placement, they may be responsible for repair or replacement. However, patient factors like poor hygiene, injury, and natural wear and tear are not their responsibility.

Below we will talk about crown failure, the patient’s responsibilities, and the dentist’s role. We’ll also highlight potential causes when it comes to a failed crown.

What is a dental crown?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap used by dentists to restore weak, broken, or decayed teeth. A crown fits over your teeth, snugly.

Your dentist will remove a small amount of your tooth to make a place for the crown to fit. Crowns can be made from different materials such as resin, metal, or porcelain. 

Common issues with dental crowns

Dental crowns can face various problems, such as tooth decay, poor crown placement, sensitive teeth, damaged crowns, allergic reactions, and greyed gums. 

Tooth decay is the most common issue, resulting from poor oral hygiene after implanting a tooth crown.

Poor crown placement can impact the bite and cause discomfort, while implant failure can occur due to accidents or food allergies. Sensitive teeth may also develop after the procedure.

Damaged crowns, such as cracks or fractures, are rare but can occur due to trauma. Nerve problems can also occur, as implanted crowns can disturb the soft pulp in the tooth’s center, causing significant pain.

Allergic reactions are rare but can occur if the patient is unaware of their allergies. Greyed gums may be due to the metal showing through the gum line, which is not harmful but can be aesthetically displeasing.

Waiting on a failing crown increases gum disease risk, exposes teeth to infection, and may come free, so schedule a checkup and treatment plan with your dentist.

Is my crown failing?

Pain around the crown area, especially during eating, may indicate a tooth or cap issue. Dental crowns may fail, but the probability is low.

Is my crown failing?

If a recent crown capping has caused this issue, it’s advisable to visit a dentist for diagnosis and treatment. 

Causes of Failed Dental Crowns

Poor oral hygiene: Poor dental hygiene, especially around the crown, can increase the risk of tooth failure. Regular brushing and flossing are essential to maintain good dental health.

Incorrect fit or placement: Poor materials, preparation, and placement can cause the crown to feel loose, uncomfortable, or even fall out. 

Material issues: Dental crowns are typically made of porcelain, gold, or metal alloy, and although allergic reactions are rare, they can occur in patients. Porcelain can also chip off over time.

Old age can also lead to crown wear and damage, depending on the crown material and oral habits. Gum disease and tooth decay under the crown can occur due to bacteria getting to the underlying tooth and causing decay.

Additionally, damaging dental habits like chewing on ice, nails, and pens can increase the risk of chipping, breaking, or loosening the crown. 

 Dentist’s Responsibility in Preventing Failed Crowns

Dentists assess patients, plan treatments, ensure quality, prepare teeth, place crowns, provide aftercare, address complications, offer warranties, ensure patient compliance, and address unforeseen issues.

Quality of materials and techniques used

The success rate of dental crowns is significantly influenced by the quality of materials and techniques used. Crown material, such as metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM), all-ceramic, and zirconia, can impact durability and aesthetics. The type of cement used to bond the crown to the tooth also plays a role. 


Techniques such as proper tooth preparation, accurate impression-taking, and a reputable lab with skilled technicians can also impact crown success.

Factors such as patient habits and oral hygiene can also affect crown failure. By using high-quality materials, proper techniques, and considering patient factors, dentists can significantly increase the success rate of dental crowns.

Patient education and aftercare instructions

Patient compliance is also important, as neglecting proper oral hygiene or engaging in activities that contribute to crown failure may result in shared responsibility.

Importance of regular checkups and maintenance

Dentist’s expertise and professionalism play a vital role in maintaining oral health and patient satisfaction. IF a crown failure, dentists must properly assess the situation, considering factors such as the underlying cause, the patient’s oral hygiene, and potential complications. They’ll provide timely and appropriate interventions, whether that involves repair or replacement of the crown.

What to Do When a Dental Crown Fails?

  • Signs of a failed crown: Symptoms include pain, tooth sensitivity, swelling, and inflammation of the surrounding gum tissue. Properly placed crowns should have tight contacts, preventing gaps between the crown and the natural tooth. However, improperly placed crowns can cause gum recession and tooth decay. Porcelain crowns can wear down over time, especially if there is a habit of teeth grinding. To prevent this, dentists recommend wearing a custom-fitted nightguard when delivering a new crown.
  • Seeking a second opinion: If a crown fails within a specified period covered by a warranty or guarantee, the dentist may be responsible for addressing the issue or providing a replacement at no additional cost to the patient. 
  • Communicating with the dentist: If a dental crown fails, it is advisable to communicate with the dentist promptly, expressing concerns and seeking resolution, which may involve further evaluation, adjustments, or, if necessary, a replacement crown.


If your newly cemented crown is giving you pain or discomfort, consult your dentist.

Communicating with your dentist will give you the reason behind the problem, be it the dentist’s responsibility for a failed crown, such as poor fit or faulty material, or other factors like poor hygiene, injury, and natural wear and tear.

The dentist will recognize the cause behind the failing crown and will be able to provide you with solutions accordingly.

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