Dental crowns are versatile, and dentists use them in a variety of situations to lend strength to a damaged tooth, or to function as a natural tooth along with a dental implant. However, versatile isn’t the same as infallible.
Dr. Emmanuel Aguilar and his staff at American Dental Clinic in San Diego have patients who’ve had root canals, gum disease, cracked teeth, discolored teeth, or other problems, and a crown solved the issue.
Dental bridges usually require a crown for support, and dental implants are topped with crowns. Crowns generally last many years, but they can become dislodged or break, and when that happens, you need to know what to do.
Why crowns fail
A variety of situations can lead to a crown falling out, including:
If the crown isn’t placed properly from the beginning, or if your dentist didn’t use the correct amount of cement, the crown can become loose and ultimately fall out.
If a cavity forms in the tooth the crown is covering, the decay can cause the crown to loosen.
Chipping or cracking
Some people who grind their teeth at night — bruxism — end up chipping or cracking their crowns.
In some cases the tooth that the crown is protecting doesn’t prove strong enough to support it, and the crown gets loose.
What you should do
In the end, it doesn’t really matter why your crown falls out so much as what you do next. Here are the steps you should follow:
You need to see us as soon as possible so your crown can be reattached or replaced, or Dr. Aguilar can explain your treatment options.
Keep the crown safe
Recover the crown and clean it off. It needs to be sterile, whether you reinsert it or wait to see Dr. Aguilar.
If you call us and we advise you to reinsert the crown, you should buy over-the-counter dental cement — most pharmacies carry it. Clean the crown carefully using toothpaste, follow the instructions on the cement, and place it in your mouth. If it doesn’t stay, wait until your appointment to do anything else.
Try to chew on the other side
Whether you successfully reinsert the crown or not, you want to avoid chewing with it.
Generally speaking, you should be careful with your mouth until you can get to the dentist. Don’t eat tough or chewy foods, brush very carefully, and try to rest your mouth.
At your appointment
When you come in for your appointment, Dr. Aguilar examines your mouth to determine your options and suggests effective treatments. In some cases, reinserting your crown will be the best choice, though often replacement is necessary. If you have a damaged tooth, you may need a filling and a new crown.
You have options, regardless of the reason your crown has fallen out. Depending on whether you have underlying issues such as tooth decay or a weak tooth, we can help. Call us, or book your appointment online today.