Losing a crown can be an unsettling and alarming event—not to mention, painful. Your filling may have fallen out for any number of reasons: it may have become loose and dislodged as a result of chewing hard or sticky food, or you may have experienced trauma to your face as the result of an accident. Worse, you may (unknowingly) be experiencing tooth decay as a result of gingivitis, which can cause your temporary filling to lose support.
Whatever the scenario, once a dental crown has fallen out of place, it is important that you take steps to address the remaining area. If neglected, food particles and bacteria can enter the gums, making your situation even worse.
Have more questions about dental crowns, general or cosmetic dentistry? Bedford Dental Group Cosmetic Dentists in Beverly Hills can help. Give us a call today for a free consultation.
Steps To Take If Your Crown Falls Out
1. Hang On To The Crown
Once you’ve discovered that your crown has become dislodged, remove it completely from your mouth (so as not swallow it or choke). After you remove it, keep it and bring with you to your dentist so that they can assess whether it can be repurposed.
2. Call Your Dentist Right Away
This may seem like a standard response, however, many do not recognize the importance of having a specialist correct your issue promptly. Call your dentist and book the earliest available appointment (let the receptionist know your situation, as they may be able to fit you in on the same day).
3. Use Dental Wax On Your Lost Crown
While you wait for your dental appointment, you must protect your broken tooth at all costs. If you have kept the crown, you may be able to coat it with dental cement (available at most drugstores) and place it back over the opening as a quick fix—be extra careful while eating and drinking. You can also pick up dental wax from your dentist’s office. This substance provides a temporary barrier from food debris and bacteria. No matter what, always keep your mouth clean. Brush and rinse more than usual until you can see your dentist.
What If My Crown Broke Off Along With My Tooth?
If your crown has broken off along with a portion of the underlying tooth, here are the steps you should follow:
- Stay Calm: It can be alarming when a dental restoration like a crown breaks, but try to remain calm. It’s a common dental issue that dentists deal with regularly.
- Gather the Pieces: If you can find the broken crown and/or piece of tooth, rinse it gently without scrubbing and place it in a small container. Sometimes, the dentist might want to see it or even re-use it (though not commonly).
- Avoid Chewing on the Affected Side: To prevent further damage or discomfort, try to avoid chewing on the side where the crown broke off.
- Keep the Area Clean: Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water to keep the area clean. Brush your teeth as usual, but be extra gentle around the affected area.
- Over-the-Counter Pain Relief: If you experience discomfort or pain, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Always follow the recommended dosages and ensure there are no contraindications with other medications you may be taking.
- Temporary Dental Cement: If the exposed tooth is causing discomfort, some pharmacies sell over-the-counter temporary dental cement that you can use to cover the tooth until you see a dentist. It’s not a permanent solution, but it can help in the short term.
- See a Dentist ASAP: Schedule an emergency appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner you can get professional care, the better. The dentist will evaluate the situation and determine the best course of action, whether that’s placing a new crown, performing a root canal, or considering other restorative options.
It’s important to remember that while the above guidance can help in the short term, only a dentist can evaluate the extent of damage and recommend the best treatment plan.
How To Use Dental Wax To Secure Your Lost Crown
Clean and Inspect the Crown: Start by carefully removing the crown from your mouth if it’s still attached. Rinse both the crown and your tooth thoroughly with warm water. Inspect the crown for any visible damage or debris.
Dry the Affected Tooth: Ensure the tooth and the area around it are completely dry. You can use a piece of sterile gauze or a cotton ball to gently blot the area.
Prepare the Dental Wax: Take a small piece of dental wax, typically no larger than a pea, and knead it between your fingers to soften it. This will make it more pliable and easier to work with.
Shape the Wax: Roll the softened dental wax into a small, cylinder-like shape that can fit inside your crown. Make sure it’s compact and smooth.
Place the Wax Inside the Crown: Carefully insert the dental wax into the inside of the crown. Ensure that it’s evenly distributed and covers the inner surface of the crown.
Seat the Crown on the Tooth: Gently place the crown back onto the affected tooth, ensuring that it fits snugly and covers the tooth completely. Bite down gently to ensure a proper fit.
Remove Excess Wax: If there’s any excess wax visible around the edges of the crown, you can use a toothpick or dental pick to carefully trim it away. Be gentle to avoid damaging the crown or your tooth.
Adjust for Comfort: Ensure that the crown feels comfortable and secure when you bite down. If it feels too high or uncomfortable, you may need to remove the crown and adjust the wax accordingly.
What Happens If Your Temporary Crown Falls Out?
The use of dental wax for a temporary fix is still applicable, however, there are a few considerations specific to temporary crowns:
Temporary Crowns Are More Fragile: Temporary crowns are not as sturdy as permanent crowns, so you should exercise extra caution when handling them. Be gentle when placing the dental wax and when biting down to ensure the temporary crown doesn’t crack or break.
Visit Your Dentist Promptly: While dental wax can provide short-term stability for a temporary crown, it’s crucial to visit your dentist as soon as possible. Temporary crowns are not designed for long-term use and may have a shorter lifespan compared to permanent crowns.
Communication with Your Dentist: When you see your dentist, inform them about the issue with your temporary crown and any temporary measures you’ve taken, such as using dental wax. This will help them assess the situation and determine the best course of action.
Work Through The Pain
Oftentimes, when a crown falls out, it can leave the nerves exposed to the elements, creating intense pain and sensitivity. Over-the-counter medication can prove helpful (always take as directed), but should not be viewed as a long-term solution. Many homeopathic remedies exist for the treating of light to severe toothaches but exercise caution when applying any topical analgesic.
Eating: Proceed With Caution
It goes without saying—if you are experiencing a lost crown, be sure to chew all food on the opposite side of the affected tooth until you can get it replaced (you will probably find it too painful to use the damaged side anyways). But that’s not all. You will need to monitor the types of foods you consume while awaiting your dental appointment. Try to avoid anything that can cause further damage, decay or pain, including:
-Foods and drinks with extreme temperatures (coffee, tea, soups, etc.)
-Hard foods (whole apples, corn on the cob, etc.)
-Foods and drinks that are highly acidic (oranges, citrus juices, etc.)
-Foods and drinks with high sugar content (candy, soda, certain cereals, etc.)
In times of a lost crown, the experience can be unsettling and even painful. Whether your crown has fallen due to unforeseen circumstances or the passage of time, it’s crucial to take action to address the situation promptly. Neglecting a lost crown can lead to further complications, including potential discomfort and dental health issues.
The steps outlined here provide a guide on what to do if your crown falls out. Remember to safeguard your crown, contact your dentist without delay, and consider using dental wax as a temporary solution to protect your exposed tooth. These measures can provide relief while you await professional care.
Know that you know the facts, you can hopefully rest assured that a fallen crown is not the end of the world. Don’t panic, call your dentist and take extra measures to keep your mouth clean!