My Crown Fell Out: What Should Be Done?

It’s not uncommon to hear someone tell you that their crown fell out. While dental crowns have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years, sometimes, they do not last as long. And there are more than a few reasons for it. 

You should know that losing a dental crown is not an emergency, but you still immediately book a treatment with your dentist. That’s because you can suffer quite a bit of damage to your oral health if you knock out a crown.

Why Has Your Crown Fell Out? 

A dental crown can fall out due to one or more of the following reasons:

Tooth Decay 

A dental crown or “cap” is placed on top of a prepared, natural top. It’s cemented to it. However, if the structure of the underlying tooth changes due to decay, the crown will start to become loose. And if significant tooth loss has occurred, the crown can fall off. 

Bacteria can seep into the dental crown if there’s a small gap. From there, it can not only damage the natural tooth but also cause gum disease. The same can happen if your crown is cracked, broken or damaged in any way. Although a crown is an artificial tooth, you should treat it as if it were a natural tooth. Poor oral hygiene can result in caries, crown or no crown. 

Traumatic Injury 

Artificial teeth can also be broken by physical trauma, just like natural teeth. Accidents or sports injuries can easily knock out your dental crown. The same can happen if you’ve had a bad fall or had your mouth injured in some other way. 

Poor Fit 

An ill-fitting crown will have difficulty staying put. A dental crown needs to be firmly cemented to the underlying tooth. 

Additionally, there shouldn’t be any space between the crown and the surface of the natural tooth. This space is referred to as an “open margin.” These open margins can act as entry points for bacteria, leading to the formation of plaque and tooth decay. This will also result in the crown falling off. 

Poor Structural Integrity 

With time, your dental crown will also experience normal wear and tear as a result of biting forces. And this wear and tear will be far more if you have a habit of clenching or grinding your teeth. 

All this will weaken the structure of your crown, making it come loose. Keep in mind that, on average dental crowns last for a decade or so. These dental restorations are not permanent. 

How To Temporarily Fix A Crown That Fell Out?

If your crown has fallen out and is still intact, you can do the following for a temporary fix: 

  • Gently clean the inside (and outside) of the crown with your toothbrush. 
  • Make sure it’s completely dry and then fill it up to the brim with dental cement (Dentemp, Poligrip, or Polident can be purchased at the local pharmacy) or toothpaste. Petroleum jelly and sugar-free gum are also used but never use actual super glue for this. 
  • Take the crown and fit it over the natural tooth. 
  • Using your toothbrush, clean off the excess. 
  • Take dental floss and bring it down and out (not up, as that can dislodge the crown). 
  • This will keep the crown in place temporarily. 

This is only a temporary measure until you can visit your dentist. Make sure to get an appointment as soon as possible because the crown will fall again. You can even end up swallowing accidentally, which is even more dangerous. 

Also, if you are unable to get the crown back up, make sure to store it in a clean and safe container or plastic bag. 

What Should I Do If The Crown Falls Out? 

Whether you’ve stored the crown or put it back on, you need to be very careful. For instance, you need to avoid hard, crunchy and sticky foods; eat from the other side of the mouth. Also, make sure that the food you’re eating (or drinking) is not too sugary.  

You should continue to brush your teeth twice a day but be very gentle as it can dislodge the crown. The same goes for flossing (get the floss down and out).

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Zel00005/CC BY-SA 4.0

If your crown fell out due to tooth decay, you can consider gargling with salt water or hydrogen peroxide rinses. It may help reduce the risk of infection. So, it can be beneficial until you can get an appointment with your dentist. 

Additionally, clove oil is a very popular home remedy for toothache (which can result from decay). These are some temporary measures that you can take to manage your symptoms. 

Is It Okay To Leave A Crown Off? 

Leaving a crown off can cause the surrounding teeth to shift into the gaps left by the absence of the artificial tooth. Keep in mind that the natural tooth underneath the crown is a short stub. It won’t stop the surrounding teeth from moving. This can result in misalignment and can affect the overall aesthetics of your smile. 

Here, you should also remember that many a time, dental crowns help protect the underlying teeth when they’re very weak. So, once the crown falls out, this weak tooth will be exposed and prone to damage. Instead of a simple crown replacement, you may end up needing a tooth extraction, along with an implant

Can You Fix A Crown That Fell Out? 

The condition of the crown determines whether it can be placed back on the teeth. If it’s intact and structurally sound, your dentist might simply clean and cement it back. 

However, if the crown is broken, it will have to be replaced. That’s because if it’s broken, its jagged edges can damage your oral tissues. And even if it’s cracked, bacteria can get through that gap and damage the natural tooth. 

What To Do If Temporary Crown Falls Out? 

Before the permanent crowns are fitted, your dentist will place temporary crowns on your teeth. These temporary crowns protect the prepped teeth and keep your mouth functioning normally while the permanent crowns are being crafted. 

If a temporary crown falls out, there’s no need to panic as the appointment for the placement of your permanent crowns will only be after a couple of days. Nothing will happen to your teeth in the meanwhile. However, if you are experiencing discomfort, you should consider going back to the clinic for a crown fitting. 

How To Prevent Dental Crowns From Falling Out? 

Whether it’s a permanent crown or a temporary crown, you can prevent it from falling out by doing the following: 

  • Avoid biting into hard, crunchy foods (raw vegetables, ice, nuts, candies). 
  • Do not chew on hard objects like pens or pencils. 
  • Do not use your teeth as tools for opening bottles, packages or cutting things. 
  • Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing, flossing and using mouthwash. 
  • Wear a night guard if you grind or clench your teeth. 
  • Eat healthy foods that are not too sticky or sugar to prevent caries. 
  • Have a regular dental checkup. 

By doing this, you can keep your dental crowns in place for a long time to come. 

Concluding Remarks 

If your crown fell out, there’s no need for immediate alarm. However, you should book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. That’s because there may be a bigger underlying problem. For instance, if your crown fell out because of tooth decay, not getting treatment, can even lead to tooth loss. And you’ll require extensive dental work for that. 

It’s definitely not a good idea to leave a tooth without a crown for a long time. Not only can it damage the exposed tooth, but also change the alignment of the teeth. If you notice any damage to your crown, you should get in touch with your dentist. 

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