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Dental Crown Emergencies

Although it may be a surprise to you when your dental crown ends up floating around your mouth, don’t panic! This dental emergency is easily managed with a little know how until you can see an emergency dentist!

What Is a Dental Crown?

Just like a cap goes on your head, a crown is a cap that is the natural shape and size of your tooth that goes over the top of it.  According to the American Dental Association if you have broken a large amount of tooth, a cracked tooth, a root canal, or a tooth with a large filling, a dental crown procedure is one of the best ways to save the tooth!

A dental bridge also includes crowns.  This is used to bridge a gap where a tooth is missing, with the anchoring natural teeth crowned.  There are various types including porcelain, metal, or ceramic crowns. Some types of crowns are required to be sent to a dental laboratory to be made, while wearing a temporary crown in the meantime.  Temporary crowns are meant to come off rather easily so it can be removed for the permanent tooth.  If a temporary crown falls off, call your emergency dentist to have it replaced.  More recent technology allows for same day crowns, reducing the number of dental appointments required for a crown and eliminating that pesky temporary crown.  Permanent crowns are quite durable and usually last anywhere from five to thirty years!

Why Do They Come Off?

Although permanent crowns are durable, they sometimes come off.  Often this is due to teeth grinding (often at night), an accident, or decay near the gum line and/or gum disease.  Keep the crown in a secure place until you can see a dentist if you are worried about losing it.  If the crown is accidentally swallowed, don’t panic!  Luckily, it usually passes without causing any internal problems.

Just like being without a coat in the winter, the tooth can be sensitive without the crown. You can try to temporarily replace it if you have the crown.  First clean out the interior of the crown as much as you can.  Then be sure you know the direction the crown fits over the prepared tooth.  If you try to place it on the wrong direction, you can damage it.  Some may be tempted to use a super glue to secure the crown.  These toxic substances are not a good choice and also do not address the cause of why the crown came off. Instead, petroleum jelly or over-the-counter temporary dental cement can secure the crown until you can see a dentist to have it examined and permanently recemented.  Remember when placing the crown to not push too hard, damaging the tooth underneath as well as the surrounding gum tissue.

In the meantime, avoid foods that are chewy, sticky or hard.  Try chewing on the other side of the mouth.  When flossing, let the floss slide out between the teeth rather than pulling the floss out over the crown, popping the crown off again.  Clove oil is a natural anesthetic found at your local drugstore.  It can help relieve pain or discomfort while waiting for an appointment.  The dentist will be able to numb the tooth if necessary, evaluate if tooth decay caused the crown to become loose, and provide the appropriate dental care.

Other Problems with Crowns

If a crown has been recently placed and is still sensitive, the bite may be high. This causes you to hit on the tooth too hard, just like a bruise, and is painful.  A quick trip to the dentist can remedy this problem and correct your bite.  Sometimes the natural tooth under the crown can remain sensitive.  Ask your dentist if a sensitive toothpaste would help relieve any discomfort.   Be sure to inform them of any allergies you have.  Although not common, those allergic to metal can have a reaction to the material in a crown and may require a different style of crown.

If some sort of dental trauma occurred, your crown may still be in place but is loose or chipped.  This also deserves attention.  A loose crown can indicate some underlying decay while rough edges of a chipped crown can be sharp on the soft tissue in the mouth.  Call an emergency dentist to have the tooth evaluated and have the crown repaired if needed.

Luckily, Emergency Dental is available at the inconvenient times these things seem to happen in the evening, during the weekend, when out of town, or over a holiday.  We treat you with the care deserving of crown wearing royalty!  Call us today!


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