Whether due to a sudden impact or chewing a tough food, you might notice a dental crown has come loose in your mouth. Patients generally receive a crown after a tooth is cracked or damaged to preserve the structure.
With sufficient dental care, crowns are built to last years. Yet decay or damage can cause them to loosen and fall off. At this point, you’re encouraged to make an emergency appointment with your dentist. What else should you keep in mind?
Why Do Dental Crowns Fall Off?
A crown may have suddenly or gradually detached due to an infection developing under it. In this common scenario, bacteria gathers below the material, affecting the existing tooth structure and its security with the crown.
In relation or addition to this scenario, dental crowns can fall off due to:
- Poor fit
- Insufficient bonding
- Routine teeth grinding
- Eating sticky or hard foods
- Weakening tooth structure
Crown material also plays a role, with stronger options better able to handle grinding or biting into something hard. Metal offers the greatest degree of durability, followed by porcelain, while resin polymer is more likely to crack.
After Your Crown Falls Off
If your dental crown feels loose or it fell out into your mouth:
- Locate the crown. If it’s moving around, avoid swallowing until the crown is found.
- Assess the damage. See if the crown has broken into multiple pieces or if part of your tooth is attached.
- Make an emergency dental appointment. Ask if the dentist can see you the same day to reattach the crown. Prepare to describe the state of the crown and your tooth.
- Clean the crown and store it in a plastic bag or container. This keeps it from experiencing further damage and will help with reattaching the crown.
- Protect your tooth until you see your dentist. Options include wax, using a piece of gauze or purchasing temporary dental cement. The tooth’s nerves and tissue will be exposed and more vulnerable to decay, so you’re advised to avoid eating and chewing on that side of your mouth until your crown is secured.
- Watch what you eat. Even if dental cement is molded to temporarily protect your tooth, you’re advised to keep away from certain foods, including anything hard, chewy, sticky or crunchy. Foods that are too hot may soften the material and those that are too cold may aggravate the tooth’s nerve, causing increased pain.
- On the day of your appointment, bring the crown to see if it can be reattached. If the crown has been damaged or has broken into pieces, a new one will be made and fitted to your tooth.
How to Prevent a Dental Crown From Falling Off
To lessen your chances of dealing with a loose dental crown:
- Avoid chewing on ice and consuming sticky or tough foods.
- Stay on top of your oral health, brushing twice per day and flossing regularly.
- Consider using an interdental brush to target the area where your crown approaches the gumline.
- Wear a mouthguard if you have a habit of grinding your teeth.
To schedule an appointment with your dentist to look at a damaged crown, contact our Shelton office today.