You’re eating lunch and all of a sudden you feel something hard only to spit out your crown. This is unfortunately a common scenario we see. Most crowns at some point are redone. Knowing what to do and not to do with a lost crown can help you not only save time and money but possibly your tooth.
Why do crowns come off?
There are many different reasons why crowns come off. One is chewing something sticky that lifts the crown off. Another cause is the dissolving of the cement over time which loosens the crown. Finally the most common reason is a cavity under the crown. The cavity softens the tooth the crown is bonded on to leading to nothing for the crown to hold on to.
Will I be in pain?
It depends. If the tooth is root canal treated there should be minimal pain. However, if the tooth has not had a root canal most likely there will be some sensitivity until the exposed tooth structure is covered. Avoid foods with extreme temperatures, sugary and acidic foods to minimize the sensitivity.
Can my crown be reused?
Sometimes yes. In cases where the cement has worn thin often times the same crown can be placed back onto the tooth. When the reason is because of a cavity the cavity has to be removed and the shape of the tooth changes. This leads to the crown being unable to fit back onto the tooth snuggly and a new crown has to be made.
What if I don’t get the crown put back on?
The layer of the tooth that is exposed is called the dentin. This is a soft layer and is prone to cavities,so there is a risk one might start forming. Also the lost crown acts as a space holder. When it is missing there is nothing keeping the adjacent teeth from tipping into the now open space. This may make it difficult to insert the crown again or to create a new one. Finally without a crown there it can become an area for food to trap. Often times these teeth get cavities and this which untreated leads to eventually the tooth having to be removed.
Should I place the crown back on?
No. Placing your crown back on without the proper adhesive can lead to the crown dislodging again. This can become a choking hazard and can be a risk for swallowing or worse aspiration.
So what should I do?
Call you dentist and make an appointment. Although most of the time this is not considered an emergency it is important to get the crown back on as soon as possible. Make sure you keep the crown in a clean, safe place and don’t forget to bring it with you to your appointment so that you dentist can determine whether it can be used again or not.