Dental crowns made of porcelain or ceramic are the most natural-looking replacement for missing teeth. Even though crowns are designed permanent, they can occasionally fall out if you experience dental trauma or if the cement seeps out over many years. Here are the steps you should take after you have lost a dental crown.
Remove the Crown and Inspect the Tooth
First and foremost, you should remove the crown from your mouth as soon as you notice that it has come loose. Swallowing the crown is not likely to cause any health problems, but it will obviously prevent the dentist from fitting the crown back in place. However, if you accidentally inhale the crown, it can lead to a serious infection.
After you have removed the crown, you should inspect the underlying tooth for damage. It is possible that the tooth cracked or chipped when the crown fell off, especially if trauma was involved. This can cause pain or sensitivity to hot and cold in the tooth that you can manage with clove oil, desensitizing toothpaste, and other methods.
Call Your Dentist
You should schedule a dentist's appointment at a place like Insero as soon as possible after you have lost a crown. This will improve the chances that the dentist can put the same crown back on your tooth instead of having to fabricate a new one. When you call the dentist's office, you will need to tell the receptionist if the underlying tooth has chipped or cracked and how the crown was lost.
While the dentist will try to work you in as soon as possible after you call, you will often have to wait two to three days if your dentist has a busy schedule. If you are not comfortable trying to temporarily replace the crown, it is a good idea to gently brush the crown, dry it, and store it in a dry place. Be sure to plug the sink when brushing the crown so that you don't accidentally drop it down the drain. You should also brush the exposed tooth frequently to prevent food debris from sticking to it.
Consider Temporary Replacement Options
While you will require the aid of a dentist to permanently fit the crown back in place, there are a few ways to temporarily replace the crown until you see the dentist. The most common method of doing this is to use temporary dental cement that is specifically designed to replace lost crowns.
To use temporary cement, first rinse the crown and brush the tooth that it will fit over. Place the crown back over the tooth without any cement and bite down to test how it feels. If you are satisfied with the bite, lift the crown back off of your tooth and dry the inside. Place a small amount of cement on the upper inside edge of the crown and carefully slide it back over the tooth in the same position that it was in when you tested it. It will take a few hours for most types of cement to dry, so read the instructions on the cement you are using to determine how long you need to wait before eating or drinking.
If you cannot find temporary dental cement, you can use denture adhesive or petroleum jelly as a substitute. These materials will not bond the crown to your tooth as securely as dental cement, so you should consider the risk of the crown coming off again while you eat or sleep before choosing to use them. Never use any other type of glue that is not designed to replace crowns, as this can damage both the crown and the tooth.
Losing a dental crown is not an emergency, but it can be inconvenient having to wait a few days with a gap in your teeth before you see your dentist. Keep these tips in mind so that you know exactly what to do if you ever lose a dental crown.