A Chipped Porcelain Crown

Hello, You have a GREAT site I LOVE it!! Lots of info.

My four-year-old has crowns with porcelain fronts and metal backing on her upper front, and she has chipped one of them. It now shows the metal, so basically there’s a chunk of the inner front tooth gone but a back still there. Still intact but it looks bad. I’m wondering if it’s possible to get a composite material to reshape the crown? I’ve visited the children’s dentist and he said there will be a gray area where he puts the composite, plus it probably won’t hold because its synthetic to metal. Is this true? and are there any other things that can be done? Poor child has an image. lol Is there any other dentist that you can refer if this is inaccurate info? Just as any child she’s a doll and can’t go around with a snaggle tooth. Thanks very much.

—Chanelle from California


There are techniques for bonding composite to metal, but apparently your dentist isn’t familiar with them and probably doesn’t have the bonding agents that would be required to do this. Cosmetic dentists generally have these materials on hand. There are also opaquers that can be used to keep the metal from showing through.

Look up any of the cosmetic dentists we recommend, and I’m confident they’ll know what to do. As you’ve discovered, most dentists will tend to think that your level of concern over the appearance here is excessive, and they haven’t invested the time and training or the special materials required to do this type of work.

Good luck,

Dr. Hall

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Related information:

  • Some dentists are wanting to cover old porcelain crowns on the front teeth with Lumineers over crowns. While there are techniques for bonding new porcelain to old, Dr. Hall thinks this is a bad idea and explains why.
  • Dr. Hall explains how you should care for porcelain veneers after they’re put on.