Dental crowns or caps are employed when a tooth has become highly damaged, decayed, or discoloured. They help the tooth blend in with its neighbours and makes it easier to use your teeth overall. Permanent crowns are bonded to the tooth and you can go years without even remembering you have one. Unfortunately, this can come to a halt if the crown becomes unstuck or “debonded.”
What Makes Crowns Fall Out?
There are a few different causes that can make a crown fall out. Any sudden impact can loosen the crown, whether from injury or biting down hard on a very solid or chewy piece of food. The impact itself doesn’t need to knock off the crown immediately. It can chip a piece off or damage the foundation, leading to a structural instability that leads to its eventual falling out. Habitually grinding your teeth can cause a similar effect as well.
The underlying tooth can also decay. The thin margin where the tooth meets the edge of the crown can decay in instances such as a high sugar diet, poor oral care in general, or if a gap forms from an ill-fitted crown. In this case, the decay will weaken the tooth and cause the crown to fall out.
It’s also possible that the crown’s bonder has failed. In some cases, the cement that keeps the crown in place will leach out over time and lose its holding power. This is, fortunately, the simplest situation to remedy and one of the most common.
The Crown Fell Out; Now What?
First, make sure you don’t swallow the crown. If you do, it will pass harmlessly, but it’s better to not have to deal with that. Second, contact your dentist as soon as possible to arrange for the crown to be properly fitted back on. Once that’s accomplished (and if you followed the first step), sterilize and wash the crown then keep it safely in a small container to bring to your appointment.
The newly-exposed tooth will likely feel disconcerting or unusual since its lack of exposure to temperature, pressure, or open air has left it rather sensitive (if the tooth is still alive). The tooth also needs to be kept clean and clear of food debris to keep any from lodging in place. This will both make the reattachment easier and prevent debris from getting into the root, depending on whether your crown had a post or not.
If the tooth was at the front of your mouth, you may feel the need to replace it temporarily for aesthetics. Do not use superglue for this. It will be unpleasant for you, a headache for your dentist, and damaging to the crown. Drugstores will sell dental-approved temporary cement that you can use instead. They won’t hold it as well as before, and you should avoid putting pressure on the tooth once in place, but it will last a day or two until you visit your dentist.
At the Office
Once you’ve arrived at your dentist’s office, they will need to assess both the condition of the tooth and the state of the crown. Depending on the cause of the falling out, you may need a new crown altogether, a different type of crown, or a simple replacement. The most important part is not to delay going in.
Princeview Dental has been a fixture of the Kingsway area in Etobicoke for over 20 years, where we’ve provided dedicated family care in a professional, welcoming, and modern environment. For more information, please visit our web site.