Dental emergencies can happen when you least expect them to; and they often happen when it’s least convenient! However, there are also varying degrees of dental emergencies, and something like a lost dental crown is usually not as urgent as a displaced tooth. That said, how should you approach a lost dental crown—is rushing to your emergency dentist the correct move? Here’s more from your dentist about what causes crowns to fall out and what you should do if you find yourself in that situation.
What Causes Dental Crowns to Fall Out?
Even though dental crowns are durable and can last for several years (10 – 15) if properly cared for, accidents can still happen, and there are several things that might cause a dental crown to become detached. Certain foods that are particularly crunchy, hard, or chewy can be problematic, as can extremely hot or cold foods and drinks. Things like popcorn (a common offender), hard candies, nuts, jerky, and even granola bars all pose a threat to dental crowns.
Trauma or impact can also cause a crown to fall out; sports, exercise, or any form of physical activity can all be dangerous if you don’t wear a mouthguard or properly protect your teeth. Even the daily wear-and-tear that your teeth go through can gradually weaken your crowns. Additionally, certain materials used for dental crowns are also more prone to loosening or breaking than others. Simply put, broken or displaced crowns can happen and are caused by several different things—even things you wouldn’t expect!
What Should I Do If I Lose a Dental Crown?
If you’ve suffered a displaced crown, while not technically an emergency, you should still contact your dentist promptly, even if you aren’t in any pain. After explaining the situation, they will determine if you need to be seen immediately or not. If possible, you should retrieve the crown and bring it with you to your appointment.
In some cases, your dentist might instruct you to reattach the crown yourself with a dental adhesive or other appropriate solution (do not use superglue). After cleaning the crown and exposed tooth area carefully, you can use a tiny amount of toothpaste and suction to properly reattach it, or a store-bought temporary crown cement can also be used. However, upon arrival, your dentist will also determine if the crown can be fixed or if it needs to be fully replaced.
Depending on the severity of the situation, you might experience some discomfort after losing a crown, especially if the underlying tooth has a jagged or sharp edge. The crown might also present a choking hazard or inhibit your ability to safely eat. In these instances, an emergency appointment should be made.
Losing a dental crown can definitely come as a surprise, but it’s usually no reason to panic. That said, contacting your dentist promptly and assessing the situation will ensure that your smile is in no real danger and your crown is easily able to be addressed.
About the Author
Dr. Joseph Sandberg has proudly served patients and families in the Marlton community for over 30 years. Dr. Sandberg received his dental doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and is a Master of the Academy of General Dentistry. His practice is pleased to offer a wide range of available preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry services. If you have any questions about dental crowns or have lost yours, don’t hesitate to contact the practice to schedule an appointment: (856) 596-4333.