Dental crowns create an almost perfect replacement for missing teeth. While they typically stay in place permanently after they are installed, they can on occasion fall out when you are eating hard or sticky foods, or if you experience unexpected dental trauma. Here are the steps you should take immediately after losing a crown.
Inspect the Crown for Damage
The first thing you should do is determine if the crown has been damaged. If your crown is not cracked, chipped, or significantly worn on the inside, it can typically be replaced by your dentist. You should also determine whether any of your tooth has broken off inside the crown. After you have assessed the crown, call your dentist immediately to schedule an appointment for repair.
It is important to take the crown out of your mouth as soon as you notice that it has come loose so that you do not accidentally swallow or inhale it. While swallowing the crown will most likely not be harmful to your health, the dentist will have to have a new crown made for you, which can be expensive. Inhaling the crown is dangerous, as it can cause a serious infection if it becomes lodged in your trachea or lungs.
Temporarily Replace the Crown if Possible
If the tooth under the crown has not been broken off, you may be able to fix the crown back in place temporarily. There are a number of quick fixes that you can choose from. While temporary dental cement is the most reliable option, you may also be able to use denture adhesive or petroleum jelly to hold the crown in place until you can see the dentist.
Before you try to put the crown back in, you should thoroughly brush the tooth that the crown came off of, the adjacent teeth, and the crown itself. You will then want to dry off the crown, including on the inside, as well as the tooth you will place it on. This will help the crown to adhere to the tooth better.
Manage Sensitivity and Protect the Tooth
If you cannot place the crown back on the tooth yourself, you will need to store it in a safe place and take some steps to protect the tooth until you see the dentist. Since the tooth has been filed down to fit the crown, bacteria can quickly begin to eat through the enamel and cause pain and sensitivity.
Swabbing clove oil onto the tooth and using over-the-counter pain medication are good methods for dulling pain and sensitivity. You can also apply a thin layer of dental cement to the outside of the tooth to form a seal against decay and prevent the tooth from chipping.
Visit Your Dentist for Permanent Repair
The sooner you see your dentist after losing a crown, the more likely he will be able to put the same crown back over your tooth. Without the crown holding the tooth in place, it can begin to move slightly and prevent the crown from fitting back in place properly. Additionally, any damage that you receive to the tooth can make it unable to fit into the crown properly.
When you see the dentist, he will first disinfect the tooth so that bacteria will not become encased under the crown to cause decay and infection. If the tooth no longer fits properly, the dentist may perform some slight sanding of the tooth to adjust the fit. Then he will permanently cement the crown back in place.
While losing a dental crown can be inconvenient, it is not typically a dental emergency. Use these tips to cope with your lost crown until you can visit a dentist for a permanent fix.