Crowns last a long time, enhance smile, and are an excellent piece of dental restoration. While very good, they are also subject to pressure and wear and tear, just as do our teeth. If your dental crown falls out or is just loose, there is a chance that your dentist simply reattaches it over your tooth. This can be an easy fix once the crown is in good condition. However, a broken or seriously damaged crown requires a dentist to make it from the beginning. This surely takes time and more money. Let’s know what should you do if your crown falls off or cracks and what are the main causes that it might happen.
What is a dental crown?
A dental crown caps the entire tooth that is damaged, severely worn down, or badly discolored. Crowns provide strength and support for teeth, while giving you a natural smile appearance and improving teeth function greatly.
Your dentist will bond a crown over your prepared natural tooth using special dental cement. Before placing a crown, a dentist first checks if the tooth needs a root canal or whether or not the tooth has enough healthy structure to hold your crown. Usually, ¼ of the remaining good quality tooth is sufficient.
What should I do if my dental crown falls out or breaks?
Here is a step-by-step guide in case your dental crown falls off or gets broken.
Contact your dentist immediately
The first and best action is to schedule a dental appointment right away. Your dentist will either make a new one from scratch or have it replaced.
You cannot go along without a dental crown for days or weeks. A tooth will be exposed to bacteria with a damaged crown let alone when it is completely off of your tooth. Remember to stay calm and don’t panic. This is something that can happen, but be sure not to delay and reach out to a dentist as soon as possible.
Clean and retrieve the crown
As long as your crown is in good shape, your dentist can simply reattach it back in its place. So, rinse off the crown with warm water and remove the food debris. Chances are your original crown has just come loose and there are no cracks or signs of damage. Therefore, you need to bring it with you to the dentist where it is fitted over the tooth.
Protect your tooth
You will feel sensitivity and slight pain in the area. This is because there is no tightly fitted crown anymore to protect your tooth against outside risk factors. So, try to prevent food from getting trapped around that tooth and avoid chewing with that area.
Ask your dentist about necessary care instructions until your appointment. If the crown has fallen out and is not broken, your dentist may suggest reattaching the crown before your emergency dental visit. This may be possible using temporary dental cement you can buy from a local drugstore or other methods that the dental professional provides.
Get your crown recemented or remade
Your dentist will check if the crown is still functional or can fit properly. The edges of the crown should seal over a tooth, preventing the risk of leakage and thus cavities. Plus, your bite and the shape of the crown should match so that opposing teeth are in occlusion. And there should be enough contact space between the crown and the adjacent teeth as well.
After necessary oral health examinations, your dentist will then begin the process of recementing the crown. This involves disinfecting the area, cleaning and repolishing the crown, desensitizing the tooth, and finally applying dental cement to place your crown.
However, you may need a new one depending on the amount of damage. So, your dentist can suggest getting a CEREC same-day crown. Or, they may fabricate the crown traditionally. This will take at least two dental visits, a temporary crown, and having to wait for the dental lab.
Why do dental crowns come off?
There are different types of crowns available. Some people prefer porcelain due to its attractive look. But it may chip or break if not cared for. Others may opt for metals like gold which is amazingly long-lasting and never breaks. Although a crown restoration is durable and generally long-lasting, there are some potential risks that it might fall out or even break.
Common reasons your dental crown may fall off:
- Improper fit or fabrication of the crown. If a crown does not fit or is made out of poor-quality material, you might feel that it loosens over time or fell out. It cannot resist the pressure of chewing and the opposing teeth. Therefore, it can break or deteriorate sooner than expected.
- Teeth grinding or clenching. Frequent grinding or clenching of teeth can cause loss of crowns. It is essential to put on a night guard during sleep to prevent chipping or breaking your crown. Teeth grinding or bruxism wears out and eventually fractures the crown. It also puts the health of your opposing teeth at risk, by consistent rubbing against the enamel.
- Biting down on hard things. Using your crown tooth to tear things apart can dislodge the crown. Also, be careful about hard foods. Biting down on some tough foods or chewing on ice or hard objects can damage your crown, too.
- Weakened or decayed tooth beneath. If a crown is attached over a tooth that is too weakened or does not have enough tooth structure, it cannot retain your crown. In addition, people who don’t brush and floss regularly can experience the development of cavities underneath the crown. This especially happens when your crown is damaged or loose, which allows the penetration of bacteria.
How can you prevent a crown from falling out?
As you saw there are a number of reasons that a dental crown falls off or breaks. Oral hygiene is the main essential thing you should do to increase the lifespan of your crown. You need to remove plaque daily from around the crown and your teeth to make sure the underlying tooth is as healthy and free of decay.
Help minimize crown failure with the following basic tips:
- Don’t chew ice
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Floss daily
- Wear a mouth guard according to your dentist’s instruction if you grind your teeth
- Be careful when eating very chewy, sticky, or harsh types of foods
Frequently asked questions
Yes, it is. Visit a dentist ASAP to get your crown reattached or have it replaced. When a crown gets broken, knocked out, or falls off over your tooth, it leaves the underlying tooth unprotected. Not only pain and sensitivity are common, but there are risks of infection and damage to the dental pulp.
This is because your dental crown had not sealed over your tooth or there was some sort of damage to your crown. This causes leakage of bacteria that have penetrated into the tooth structure.
If the crown is intact and there is no additional damage or decay, the cost of reattaching a crown will typically be lower. However, if you need a new crown, the replacement cost can range from $800 to $3,000 depending on the type of crown and additional dental work needed.