Dental crowns are made to last, but they are not indestructible. It is not uncommon for a dental crown to become loose and even fall out. At New Leaf Rohnert Park, we understand that it is common to have a dental crown fall off, and while it may not cause discomfort, it is important to address the missing crown as soon as possible. How do you know if you have a loose tooth crown? What do you do if your dental crown falls off?

What is a dental crown?

Whether you had tooth decay and a root canal or cracked a tooth, a dental crown was likely to help save your damaged tooth. A dental crown is essentially a cover for a damaged tooth, helping to support a weak tooth, allowing you to save the tooth’s structure and maintain your smile. A crown is designed to last for many years. However, the older it gets, the greater the risk of it becoming loose or falling off.

Is a crown falling off a dental emergency?

While a crown falling off is not a dental emergency, it is important that you get in to see your dentist and have the missing crown addressed as soon as possible. The purpose of your crown was to protect a damaged or weakened tooth. When the crown comes off, you may experience sensitivity and pain. Replacing your crown is essential to providing the support your tooth needs.

What to do if a crown falls off

While a crown falling off is not a dental emergency, there are some steps you should follow that can make it easier for your dentist to replace the crown when you see them.

Keep calm

When a crown comes off, it may take you by surprise when you feel what feels like a tooth floating around in your mouth. The most important thing is to remain calm and remove the crown from your mouth.

Inspect and clean the crown

Once in your hand, inspect the crown for any damage and give it a quick rinse under clean, warm water. Place your crown into a plastic bag or container and put it in a safe place until you can get in to see your dentist. In some cases, your dentist may be able to simply reattach your crown to your tooth.

Contact your dentist

Call your dentist immediately and let them know what happened. You need to schedule an appointment to either reattach your existing crown or have a new one put in place. They may be able to get you in right away, or you may have to wait a couple of days.

Protect your tooth

If you are unable to see the dentist right away, it is important to protect the underlying tooth. You may experience increased sensitivity in your tooth, which can be relieved with over-the-counter pain medication. It is important not to chew with the weakened tooth until the crown is replaced when eating.

Avoid sticky, hard, and chewy foods

When you lose a crown, it is important to protect the underlying tooth when you eat. Avoid sticky and hard foods and those that require a lot of chewing. When you must chew, avoid the area with the weakened tooth. In many cases, it may be best to stick with soft foods and liquids until you see your dentist.

Frequently Asked Questions

At New Leaf Rohnert Park, we often get questions about crowns and what to do when they fall off. Here are some answers to some of our most common questions.

What do you do if you swallow your crown?

Don’t worry if you are eating when your crown falls off and swallow your food before realizing it, don’t worry. Dental crowns are small and smooth and should pass naturally within a few days. However, if your crown fell off in your sleep or didn’t notice when it fell out, it may be a good idea to see your doctor in case of accidental aspiration (breathing the crown into the lungs instead of swallowing it). In this case, your doctor can take x-rays to ensure your crown did not travel to your lungs.

How long can you go without a crown?

Your tooth can survive a few days or even a few weeks without the crown in place as long as you take steps to protect the tooth. However, the tooth is weak and may have areas easily accessible to bacteria. This can cause further damage to the tooth. It is important that you schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

Can you get an infection if your crown falls off?

When your crown falls off, your tooth is fragile and at a greater risk for damage. In addition, chances are the tooth has exposed areas where bacteria can enter and cause infection and decay.

Can you still eat if your crown falls off?

Yes, you can still eat when your crown falls off, but you do need to take precautions. Avoid hard and sticky foods and foods that require a lot of chewing. In addition, when chewing, avoid the area where the crown was, as the remaining tooth is weak. It is advised to stick to soft foods or liquids until you see your dentist.

Can a crown be removed and reused?

Oftentimes when a crown falls off, it is due to weakened adhesive. If the crown is in good shape, with no cracks or damage, your dentist can add new adhesive and reattach the existing crown. This is why it is important to clean your crown when it falls out and keep it safe.

Contacting your dentist right away is essential.

Losing your crown can be stressful, but with the right care and immediate treatment from your dentist, you will have your crown (or a replacement crown) in place and back to normal in no time. If your crown seems loose or you have questions about a crown, the team at New Leaf Rohnert Park is here to answer your questions. Contact us online today or call the office at (707) 607-8695 to schedule an appointment.