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 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.
Here are a few steps you should take if your crown falls out:
If possible, 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.
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).
Protect your mouth with a replacement filling
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.
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 broken 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 high sugar content (candy, soda, certain cereals, etc.)
-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.)
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!