One of the most common dental emergencies is when a patient’s crown pops off. Although losing a crown not a serious emergency, many patients experience a disconcerting sensation when their crowns are not in place. Plus, it can be painful because the exposed tooth tissue is often sensitive to temperature, pressure or air. If your dental crown came off, don’t panic, but do call to make an appointment right away. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to put it back in place and alleviate your pain before you are able to see the dentist.
What Do I Do if My Crown Fell Off?
When your crown pops off, immediately get it out of your mouth, or find it (if it is in your food, on the floor, in the sink, etc.). You don’t want to swallow it, because, although it would probably pass without a problem, you would not be able to reattach it, and would need to have a new crown fitted. Here are some other steps to take:
- Call and schedule an appointment to get the crown reattached. Let the office staff know that your crown came off and give details. They will try to get you in as soon as possible (within a week at most).
- Get some temporary dental adhesive/cement from your drugstore and try to slip the crown back in place. Remember, the temporary cement will not be as strong as the permanent type, so do not chew anything hard or sticky on the crown side.
- Before using the temporary cement, be sure to gently clean the area around the exposed tooth, clean the inside of the crown, and make sure the crown and the tooth are as dry (use sterile gauze) as possible. Do NOT use any super glue or household glues to reattach the crown. These substances are toxic and can cause a root canal to be necessary.
- Use a little clove oil on the sensitive area if there is pain. You can get it in the spice aisle of your supermarket or at the drug store. Use a cotton swab for application.
What Will the Dentist Do?
During your visit, the dentist will consider many factors to determine the best course for treatment and repair. There can be a variety of reasons why your crown fell out. If it’s an older crown, the cement may have become loose, there could be some underlying decay, or your bite could be off. If the crown is slightly chipped, a minor repair is typically possible. If the damage is substantial, you may need a new crown.
What if I Need a New Crown?
Your dentist will determine if you need a new crown, and you’ll need to know your options. Traditional older-style crowns are either porcelain fused to metal (PFM) or gold. While all-gold crowns are still the strongest and longest lasting, an all-gold crown may not meet your aesthetic needs. The PFM variety is more aesthetically pleasing; however, the porcelain tends to shears off over time. A pressed porcelain crown such as Emax (lithium disilicate) is vastly superior in strength than a PFM. Since it is all “porcelain,” it has translucent properties that make it more lifelike and much more aesthetic than a PFM.
Don’t Delay Your Visit
No matter what caused your crown to fall out, it is now a top priority for you to get into the dentist as quickly as possible to get it reattached. Delaying your visit to the dentist could cause a number of additional problems such as bacterial infection, gums growing into the area where the crown needs to be attached, teeth moving and causing the crown to no longer fit, and possible damage to what’s left of the tooth.