Dental crowns are common. When a tooth has been damaged due to decay or impact, a dental crown can restore it. However, just as real teeth can sometimes be damaged, dental crowns can also be damaged, and temporary crowns may fall off under some circumstances. Here’s what to do if your temporary or permanent dental crown falls off.
What to Do if Your Crown Falls Off on a Weekend or at Night
If your dental crown falls off, this is a good reason to make an emergency dental appointment. However, if your dental crown falls off during the weekend or in the evening, you probably won’t be able to get an appointment until at least the following day. But don’t panic. Here’s what to do if your dental crown falls off on a weekend or at night.
1. Stay Calm
Before we discuss what to do if your dental crown falls off, the first thing to remember is to stay calm. It can be alarming to lose your dental crown, but keep in mind that this can be fixed. It may be somewhat painful at first, but this damage is not permanent.
2. Inspect the Crown
Knowing what to do if your dental crown falls off partly depends on the state of the crown. If you can locate the crown, do so. Take a close look to assess the damage. If there is no tooth inside of the crown, this is a good sign that it may be possible to simply reattach once your dentist can see you. If you see a small bit of metal inside of the crown, this is normal. That is the crown’s post, which helps to keep it anchored to your tooth.
3. Call Your Dentist
Calling your dentist as soon as possible is one of the best things you can do if your dental crown falls off. Tell them what happened and request an emergency Las Vegas dental appointment. Your dentist may ask if you still have the crown and what state it is in. Make an appointment to replace or reattach the crown as soon as possible.
4. Clean the Crown
If you still have the crown, wash it off carefully with gentle soap and water. Put it in a safe place where it will stay clean, such as in a plastic bag. Keep it in a safe place, and remember to bring it with you when you visit your dentist.
5. Protect Your Tooth
Your crown would’ve been originally attached to protect a tooth that was damaged. It is important to know what to do if your dental crown falls off so you can protect the underlying tooth structures. The nerves and sensitive tissue of the tooth may now be exposed, and sensitive to touch and temperature. Go to a pharmacy and purchase temporary dental cement. Carefully mold the cement around the exposed tooth, following the instructions on the package. Dental wax may also be helpful to protect the tooth.
6. Avoid Certain Foods
Though your tooth will be temporarily protected, certain foods will dislodge the cement, expose the tooth, and harm the underlying structures. If your dental crown falls off, it’s a good idea to avoid crunchy, chewy, or tough foods. You may also find that especially hot or cold foods cause you pain. Until you can see your dentist to have the crown repaired, avoid these foods.
7. See Your Dentist
If you scheduled an emergency dental appointment, it shouldn’t take long to see your dentist. Bring the crown with you when you see your dentist, as it may be able to be reattached. If the crown was significantly damaged, you will probably need a new crown fitted.
Stop Dental Crowns From Falling Off Again
Now that you know what to do if your dental crown falls off, you may want to know why it fell off in the first place, and what you can do to stop this from happening again.
Dental crowns may fall off for a number of reasons. Here are the most common:
- Decay: if tooth decay eats away the structure that the crown is attached to, the crown will eventually unattach. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day can prevent tooth decay from building up and damaging the underlying tooth structures.
- Impact: A heavy impact, such as that from contact sports, can dislodge the crown from sheer force. If you play sports where facial injuries are possible, always wear a helmet and mouthguard.
- Tough Foods: Biting down on especially hard foods, or seeds and other hard substances hidden in some foods, can damage your crown. Avoid these foods, and be careful about seeds and pits.
- Improper Fitting: If your crown was not properly attached or fitted to your tooth to begin with, it will fall off more easily. Look at reviews before visiting a dentist, ask questions, and always work with an experienced dentist for restorations.
- Teeth grinding: Bruxism, more commonly known as teeth grinding, can also weaken the tooth under the crown and the crown itself. If you notice your teeth or jaw are sore in the morning when you wake up, or you notice soreness throughout the day, talk to your dentist. Teeth grinding will wear out your dental crown prematurely and solving this problem sooner can help to keep your dental crown from falling off.
If My Dental Crown Falls Off, Will It Damage My Tooth?
If your dental crown falls off, the underlying tooth is at risk, but the crown can be replaced without further damage to the tooth. Dental crowns are affixed to teeth that are damaged, so sensitive parts of the tooth will be exposed if the dental crown falls off. To prevent further damage to the tooth, use the precautions listed above, including protecting the tooth with temporary dental cement or wax. Make an emergency appointment with your dentist as soon as you can to get a temporary crown and to re-affix a permanent crown. Avoid chewing on the affected side of your mouth until you can get your crown reattached. This will prevent any more damage to your tooth.
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
Dental crowns can last anywhere between 10 and 30 years, depending on the condition of the original tooth, how well the crown is maintained, what the crown is made of and how well it was originally fitted. There are a number of ways that you can extend the life of your dental crown.
How long your dental crown lasts is partially determined by what the crown is made of and what type of crown you have. There are many different materials and configurations for dental crowns, and each can be right in the right situation.
- Metal: Metal crowns are most commonly used for the back teeth, which withstand the most pressure. They might be made from nickel, chromium, palladium or gold. These types of crowns are tough and long-lasting, though probably aren’t suitable for front teeth.
- Porcelain: Porcelain crowns are not as durable as metal crowns, though they are still plenty strong. These types of crowns will also mimic the appearance of natural teeth, so they’re ideal for front teeth. The crown might also use a metal shell underneath and a porcelain overlay.
- Resin: Resin crowns can be more affordable, but generally don’t last as long as other types of crowns. These types of crowns are made from a plastic polymer that is safe to use for dental applications.
- Full and Partial Crowns: While most dental crowns cover the entire exterior of the tooth, this isn’t always necessary. Some crowns might cover three-fourths of the tooth or a smaller section.
Keep your teeth clean and be diligent about brushing and flossing your teeth. Decay will not necessarily weaken the crown itself, but it will weaken the tooth underneath. This will cause the crown to fit improperly and eventually fall off. Also, when you are flossing around the dental crown, use caution. While flossing will help to fight tooth decay and keep your teeth healthy, too much pressure can damage the crown. Consider using a water flosser or simply using more caution when flossing around your dental crown.
Now that you know what to do if your dental crown falls off and how to stop it from happening again, hopefully the situation does not seem so alarming.
If you are in Lake Havasu, Arizona, or Las Vegas, Henderson or Laughlin, Nevada, please call us directly at (702) 388-8888. Even if your permanent or temporary crown falls off on a night or weekend, our Las Vegas Dentists can attend to your dental crown immediately, with weekend and late hours by appointment. Contact our offices and we will schedule your emergency appointment as quickly as possible.