If you have a severely cracked or decayed tooth, there’s a chance that your dentist recommended that you get a dental crown. A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that covers a damaged tooth. Dentists have used dental crowns in restorative dentistry for many years and with great success. Depending on the material used, whether they were correctly installed, and care rendered to the crown, dental crowns can last for several years.
However, just like natural teeth, dental crowns can sometimes fall out or get damaged before they’re due to be replaced for one reason or another.
Why do dental crowns fall out?
There are various reasons why your dental crowns may come loose and fall out.
Your dental crown may fall out due to improper fitting. Over time, the force and pressure of biting and chewing may cause your crown to fall off if the fit wasn’t right.
Deterioration of the dental cement
The dental cement used to bond your crown to your tooth is strong and durable. However, it doesn’t last forever. With time, the adhesive is likely to degenerate and cause your crown to fall out.
If this happens, and the crown isn’t damaged, it’s possible to clean the crown and tooth to remove any remaining cement and bond the crown back to the tooth.
Grinding is a common cause of crowns falling off, especially on rear teeth. Grinding puts a lot of pressure on your teeth. Over time, it will weaken the cement holding your crown in place and cause the crown to fall out.
If you grind your teeth and have a crown, it’s essential to wear a nightguard while you sleep to protect your teeth.
Recurring tooth decay
If you don’t brush your teeth and floss properly, tooth decay is likely to occur under your crown. It may also happen if your dentist didn’t prepare the tooth properly before attaching the dental crown. Tooth decay will ruin the bond between the crown and the tooth and cause your crown to fall out.
Losing a dental crown is considered a dental emergency, so do not hesitate to consult an emergency dentist.
What should you do before you visit your emergency dentist?
Here are things you can do when your dental crown falls out to prevent further tooth damage, pain, and discomfort.
- Recover your crown and rinse it off
If your crown is covered in food or dirt, rinse it off with warm water, then put it in a container or plastic bag. Carry your crown along when you see your dentist.
As long as your crown is not damaged, your dentist should be able to reattach it. If it’s damaged, your dentist will fabricate another crown.
- Keep your tooth clean
You should practice special oral care when your dental crown falls out and your underlying tooth is exposed. Clean your exposed tooth by rinsing using warm saltwater.
Avoid eating sticky, sweet, acidic, and hard foods, and keep your tooth free from food particles. Dentists also recommend that you chew food on the side of the mouth that isn’t affected.
- Dull any associated pain
When your crown falls out, the nerves of the underlying tooth may be exposed, leading to pain. To soothe the pain, you can take over-the-counter pain medication.
- Use a temporary dental filling material
Ideally, you should see an emergency dentist immediately. But sometimes, this isn’t possible. Until you can see your dentist, it’s vital to protect your exposed tooth. You can buy temporary dental cement or dental wax from the drugstore to use as a protective coating for the exposed tooth.
Even with the protective coating, you should still avoid chewing on the affected side of the mouth until you see an emergency dentist.