Dental crowns are meant to last long and provide clinical value, but they can also fall off. Dental crowns fall off because of wear and tear, tooth decay, or poor design and clinical execution. When crowns fall off, you must take steps to protect the affected tooth.
What causes dental crowns to fall off?
Dental crowns can fall off because of one or a complex combination of these factors:
· Chewing hard foods which leads to a loosening of the filling in the long run
· Weak bonding that is susceptible to break down from the wetness in your mouth
· Dental caries and poor oral hygiene
· Excessive smoking
Is it an emergency when a dental crown falls?
The incident can be alarming, but there is no reason to panic, it’s not an emergency. With the right steps, you can protect yourself from harm as you wait one or two days to see a dentist.
However, please note that you may need to contact an emergency dentist if you feel the sharp and jagged edges of a broken crown. These may cause severe oral injuries, and so a dentist must address that fast.
What measures should I take when dental crowns fall off?
Step 1: Call a dentist and book an appointment
It might not be an emergency, but a dentist will still have to look at it. Call your dentist and set an appointment based on their recommendation.
A visit to the dentist will entail special interventions to repair, smooth, or replace the crown. This is essential because, as before, you need the crown to strengthen your tooth and protect it from further decay and damage.
Before your date with the dentist, the measures and recommendations in the following steps will help to protect your tooth.
Step 2: Remove the crown and preserve it.
Fallen crowns can have dire consequences if left in the mouth so remove them immediately. One of the dangers, as such, would be the risk of cuts and injuries from jagged crowns. The fallen or broken crown could damage your gums and cause further injury to the tooth that was being protected.
Leaving a fallen crown on for long can also be uncomfortable and painful. In some cases, there is the risk of swallowing the crown itself. These factors underscore the need to remove the crown and set an appointment with the dentist.
The cost of a single dental crown can get to $1500. It’s thus advisable to keep the crown safe after it falls off. Please bring it to the dentist’s office when you visit so they can find ways to reuse it.
Step 3: Keep the area clean
Crowns protect a weak tooth from further decay, and so when they fall, it exposes the area to the risk of bacteria. It’s important, therefore, to be consistent with oral hygiene at least until you see the dentist.
Please remember to be cautious as well. You might have the interior of the tooth exposed after the crown falls off. Aggressive cleaning can cause severe damage/injury just as bacteria would.
Step 4: Address the pain
In most cases, when a dental crown falls, nerves and blood vessels are exposed. The result can be sharp pain and sensitivity when eating or drinking. You can get relief with these intervention measures:
· Apply clove oil—which you can find in your local pharmacy—to the area using a cotton swab
· Rinse and gargle with salty warm water severally in a day
· Gargle and spit diluted hydrogen peroxide
· Swish vodka or whiskey to kill germs and numb the pain
· Eat lemons to numb the pain and kill bacteria around the area
Step 5: Buy dental cement and try to re-fix the crown
Step 5 is only advisable for crowns that are not damaged.
When you remove the fallen crown from your mouth, give it a closer look. If it’s not broken or damaged, you may be able to fix it back in place using dental cement. Visit your local drug store for over the counter dental cement.
Please note that this DIY crown re-fixing isn’t a reason to cancel the dentist appointment you set in step 1. At best it simply serves to protect the tooth until when the specialist will look at it.
The process of fixing back the crown with OTC dental cement goes as follows:
1) Buy two doses of cement just in case the crown doesn’t go on the first time
2) Get a magnifying mirror or move over to the vanity mirror for the re-fixing procedure
3) Gently clean the tooth with a toothbrush and rinse by gaggling—you may feel a little sensitivity after the cleaning, but that is to be expected
4) Clean excess old cement out of the crown using a toothpick
5) Try to fit the crown back without the cement to see how it would go, does it seat right?
6) You may have to try it on several times, turn it around or clean it off until you get it to seat right, take your time
7) Don’t re-cement it in if it doesn’t seat right because that could cause pain, chewing discomfort, and dental damage
8) After you get the right positioning and alignment, prepare the cement and apply it to the underside of the crown and posts
9) Place the crown onto the tooth (in the precise angle you obtained from your trial and testing) and bite your teeth together
10) After a few minutes clean the excess cement from around the crown using a toothbrush/toothpick and floss your teeth
An alternative temporary fix to protect your tooth if the crown doesn’t fit is filling the area with dental wax. Just like OTC dental cement, you can get dental wax from a local pharmacy. They are both short-term solutions to protect your tooth for a few days until you see the dentist.
Step 6: Restructure your diet
As mentioned earlier, chewing hard foodstuffs might have contributed to the crown falling off. It is imperative then to stick to softer foods until you get a dentist to look at the issue.
When you eat, you might want to chew on the other side of your mouth to prevent injury and pain to the affected tooth.
It is advisable to remove the following food items from your menu:
· Too sweet foods and drinks—these could accelerate decay
· Hard to chew foods—these could physically damage the affected tooth.
· Too hot or too cold foods and drinks –these can physically damage the affected area
A fallen crown is no cause for panic. Be that as it may, you must call a dentist ASAP and take precautionary measures for your dental health. Whatever you do, don’t skip the dentist’s appointment.
Contact us to speak to our emergency dentist and schedule an appointment.