What is the Time Span a Dentist is Responsible for Crowns?

I did my from 6 teeth with crowns. Part was a bridge of 4 teeth, and the other two were independent crowns. One of those independents broke in a clean cut at the gum line. Now I need a root canal plus post and crown. What time frame is an honorable dentist liable for?

Doctor Answers 3

How Long is a Dentist is Responsible for the Crowns He Made Me?

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The policy on how long to stand behind crowns differs among dentists.  There is no standard for that amount of time.  There are many things a dentist thinks about in making this decision on how long he feels responsible for them.  First, if insurance paid for a portion of the crown, they generally will pay for a new replacement crown after only five years.  Thus, many dentists have taken this five year as a minimum goal.  But most dentist strive to have their crowns last a lifetime!

A major concern that affects many crowns is any habits that patient may have bruxing (grinding) or clenching their teeth.  Both those factors often lessen the life expectancy of porcelain crowns and the underlying teeth.  That is something neither the dentist nor the patient has much or any control over.

Other concerns are the oral hygiene habits of the patient.  If new decay appears around the crowns and new crowns are then needed, the dentist would have absolutely no responsibility for doing them over.  Also, any trauma to the crowns.  A fall, a blow to the mouth, biting on very hard objects (usually inadvertently) all can cause crowns to fail.

Some dentists offer no warranty whatsoever after the crown is placed.  Others, usually dentists who charge more to cover future breakage or replacement, may cover their crown and bridgework for "a lifetime".  However the number of dentists doing that is very small.  Some dentists offer a sliding scale.  If needing replacement after on year, patient pays 20%  After two years, 40%.  After three years. 60%.   After four years. 80%.  After five years, full fee.

Another thing to consider is how long other items you commonly buy are warrantied?  How long for your car?  Your house?  Major appliances?  Computer?  In general most dentistry lasts for years!  

Regarding your problem, was it your dentist's fault your tooth broke?  Probably not.  He was just doing the best with what he had to work with.  I would not expect that he would pay for your entire treatment to be redone.  However, if he is generous, he might offer you a reduced fee for redoing the work.  On the other hand, if the bridge itself broke, and not just the tooth like you mentioned, then the dentist might consider giving you more consideration. 


Laguna Niguel Dentist

Time Span that Dentist is Responsible for a Crown

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Technically speaking, the dentist is responsible for a Crown until the moment you leave his office. He has no control over what you chew, or what type of trauma you might encounter out in the real world. That being said, if you have a good long-term relationship with your dentist, he should make some allowance towards a new Crown within the first 3-5 years.

Jay Neuhaus, DDS
New York Dentist

Dentist responsibility

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As a dental professional, one of our jobs is to rebuild teeth that are highly compromised and not in the best of shape.  This can be from trauma or from decay or other reasons.  One of the challenges that we have is that we are currently unable to make materials that are as good as the tooth structure that you were born with and the human body is very unpredictable and things don't always go as we would like. The other problem is that when we place something in someone's mouth, they then leave and we have no idea what they are doing to or with their teeth.  They are your teeth and even the best dentistry cannot make them perfect again.  It is kind of like driving a new car off the lot, getting into an accident and then taking it back and saying you want a new one.  Ultimately your mouth and health are your responsibility.  Do your best with what you have and be grateful that you don't have to have dentures!

Blaine McLaughlin, DDS
Cedar Rapids Dentist

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.