It’s Murphy’s Law — the worst things seem to happen at the worst times. While there is never a good time to lose a crown (also referred to as a ‘cap’), disasters tend to happen at the worst times, like the morning you’re leaving on vacation or the night before an important job interview. And, they always seem to happen on a weekend when waiting for a Monday dental visit seems an eternity.
A crown is a custom-designed ceramic shell made to cover a natural tooth. They are typically placed to protect the health of a tooth. A crown is often recommended when a tooth has developed cracks or has too much filling material for the tooth structure. Crowns are also placed for esthetic reasons or to correct bite alignment.
Porcelain crowns are ‘cemented’ in place with a special adhesive. This adhesive is designed to secure the crown for most normal functions, such as eating, biting and flossing. However, things like eating ice, an injury to the mouth, or night-time grinding may disrupt the adhesive and dislodge the crown.
If you lose a crown, don’t panic. There are simple measures you can take to protect the tooth structure and temporarily replace the crown until you are seen in our office.
As soon as the crown comes off, rinse it while holding carefully. Place the crown in a hard container (such as one that holds a retainer or mouth guard or even a clean pill bottle). Rinse the mouth gently with lukewarm water. Call our office immediately to schedule a time to have the crown re-cemented. If your crown comes off after our normal business hours, the recording will give you instructions on how to reach me.
Fortunately, you can temporarily secure the crown until it is re-cemented. Most drugs stores sell a putty-like dental cement made to temporarily hold crowns in place. Denture adhesives can also provide temporary grip. Follow the directions carefully and then avoid chewing in the area of the crown. Floss only in a downward motion to avoid dislodging the crown again.
If you cannot get to a drug store, apply petroleum jelly to the inside of the crown. This will provide some help in holding it in place, although for a brief time.
NEVER use household glue to reattach your crown! Most of these products contain highly-toxic ingredients which can leak into your mouth and get into your system. And, because glues like Super Glue and Gorilla Glue are ‘permanent’ glues, removing this material can be very difficult and even damage the tooth structure during attempts to remove it. Too, the crown can be damaged in the process of removing this type of glue.
If you’ve lost the crown, your remaining tooth structure may be sensitive to hot or cold until a new crown can be created and attached. If this occurs, the area should be covered until you can be seen in our office. For this, use a layer of the drug store dental cement on the tooth to fill it in and cover sensitive nerves. Again, avoid chewing in that area and floss downward only.
Regardless of what caused your crown to come off, our goal is to get you smiling comfortly and confidently again – and as soon as possible! Call us at 586-739-2155. We always welcome emergency patients who have experienced mishaps that result in a crown coming off or tooth loosening (or loss).