Should I Find Another Dentist if Crowns Are Shattering from this Particular Office/Lab?

My dentist told me that sometimes a crown will shatter while he is putting it on? Should I find a dentist that uses a different lab? I've had two crowns that have had to have root canals -- upon final filling both crowns broke!! I've had other crowns (from a different dentist and lab) that are still intact 20 years later.

Doctor Answers 7

Breaking Dental Crowns

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There are many factors associated with what you are describing.  Poor porcelain can be a cause, once a root canal access ismade in a crown after it is placed, it weakens it.   If it is all porcelain, the entire crown will break requiring replacemnt.  If it is a porcelain fused to metal crown, the porcelain may chip off. this will not effect the strength of that particular crown. butthe bite may be off and then would have to be replaced, if it is not an esthetic or functional issue the PFM crown may be ok. Either way there should not be multiple crowns breaking.  I would get a second opinion.

Phoenix Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon

Crowns that shatter with root canals

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There is always a chance of a crown to shatter while getting a root canal done. It is very rare occurrence, the dentist doing the root canal will make a very conservative access to avoid this problem. Most of the consent forms for root canals go over this in detail. If you are concern with the quality of the crowns, go for a second opinion when thr root canal is advised. Or consider going to a different root canal specialist.

Pamela Marzban, DDS
Fairfax Dentist

Shattering crowns

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Crowns that are drilled through for purpose of root canal therapy generally hold together well if the access is conservative.  If the crowns have a poor porcelain preparation on them then they are more likely to shatter.  There are many variables that could lead to shattering, but generally this is a rare occurrence.  Get a few opinions.


Lawrence Singer, DMD
Washington Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Shattering Crowns After Root Canals

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This is unfortunate, but sometimes unavoidable.  When a crown is drilled through to do a root canal there is the potential that the crown may be weakened.  We try to use as much water as possible when making access through a crown to avoid the porcelain from overheating and potentially fracturing.  Despite taking precautions this does happen from time to time.  This is no result of faulty lab work and should not be menitioned as the cause.  Hope this helps. 

If Crowns are breaking, you should seek another opinion.

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In general crowns should not break when putting them in. In 12 years and many hundreds of crowns, I can maybe recall 2-3 crowns that broke like that. and it wasn't shattering, it was more like a small chip.

A good crown with good home care and normal bite should last 10 yrs plus.

Hope this helps

Dr. T

Mauricio C. Tijerino, DMD
Miami Beach Dentist

Should I Find Another Dentist if My Crowns Are Shattering?

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If a dental crown shatters, that makes everyone concerned! In general, if a crown needs a root canal, they drill a small opening in the top of it. From what you described, after your root canal was done your dentist was putting in a permanent filling to close up that opening. It sounds like during that filling process, your crowns broke.

In general holes through crowns weakens them. Sometimes there is no way to avoid it. The only other option requires taking off the crown and then making a new one. Most of the time, that's not necessary just because the tooth gets a root canal.

It's probable that these were older style crowns. Only until very recently, I would tell my patients that any white crown can chip or crack. Recently, our newer ceramics are very strong and very chip resistant. You can get some more information on types of crowns in my link below.

Like any concerning problem. Ask your dentist why the crowns broke. Ask him what you and he can do to make that not happen again. Communication is really the key. Keep an open mind. 

If after that, you don't feel there is good resolution, then consider a second opinion.

Crowns Should Not Shatter

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As I understand your question, the crowns that shattered were drilled through to do the root canals.  Get a Craftsman drill out of the garage and try drilling a hole through a porcelain saucer.  Reality is an all porcelain crown is weakened when a hole is drilled through the middle for a root canal.  Stronger porcelains are recently available: IPS e.max and especially Zirconium Bruxzer crowns should prevent shattering. 

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.