IF YOU’VE LOST YOUR CROWN, DON’T LOSE YOUR HEAD
You’re the queen, or the king, of your castle, but sometimes you can lose your crown.
Your dental crown, that is.
It seems to happen without warning – one second you’re happily chewing along, and the next you’ve got this hunk of dental work in your mouth.
Or it’s stuck in whatever you’ve been eating.
Or you just wake up with a crown floating around in your mouth.
And then, if you’ve still got a nerve under there, the pain starts. When a crown comes off, the nerve is exposed to the air. Nerves don’t like being exposed, and they will definitely let you know about it. Losing a crown usually isn’t a dental emergency, but it can certainly feel like it.
So why do crowns come loose?
There are any number of reasons. One of the most common is that decay has begun in the remaining tooth that the crown covers and that it’s cemented to. If you have one or more crowns, and think that you can’t have tooth decay, you’re mistaken. Decay usually happens in the margin where crown and tooth meet. To prevent crown failure due to decay, you need to pay particular attention to brushing along the margin and be sure to floss daily to remove decay-causing plaque.
Another reason why crowns come loose is that the porcelain has fractured. This happens often in people who grind their teeth at night, also known as bruxism. The extra wear on the crown causes it to fail prematurely.
But the other reason is that crowns just wear out over time. Anything subjected to wear and tear – and crowns certainly are – will fail eventually.
Do not panic! Remain calm!
When a crown comes off, the first thing you can try is to clean off the inside of the crown carefully, and then push it back into place. At the least, the nerve won’t be exposed any longer so it’ll stop hurting. Just be careful while chewing that you don’t wind up swallowing the crown.
Most drugstores sell dental cement. Some types of cement need to be mixed, and some don’t. Regardless, clean and dry the inside of the crown and carefully apply the cement to the inside. Then, push the crown into place (be sure to have it facing the right way!) and allow the cement to harden. Whether you’ll be successful at re-cementing the crown may depend on how much of the original tooth remains.
If you can’t reattach the crown, you’re probably going to have pain. You can buy clove oil at most pharmacies and apply one or two drops to the nerve. Be warned – it won’t taste good, but it will bring blessed relief from the pain for a while. When it wears off, use a few more drops. You can also use over-the-counter pain relievers to extend the pain relief somewhat, but be careful to stay at or under the listed daily dosage.
Call a professional.
Eventually, though, that crown, or a replacement if the original has fractured, has to go back on. The rule is, the sooner the better. Why? Even if you don’t have an exposed nerve, that crown was helping to hold the neighboring teeth in position. With it gone, those neighbors may begin to shift, and that can cause problems with your bite and with chewing.
Not only that, but if the failure was due to decay, you need to get that treated as soon as possible. Once that remaining tooth is gone, a crown simply won’t work and you’ll be looking at other, and likely more expensive, options to fix your smile.
Let’s recap (if you’ll pardon the pun).
Losing a crown isn’t usually a dental emergency and there are steps you can take by yourself to replace the existing crown and to lessen any pain from the exposed nerve.
If the crown has fractured or you can’t reattach it, and you’re having severe pain, the best thing to do is to call All Smiles any time day or night. We offer same-day crown replacement using CEREC crowns. In fact, we can usually have your new crown in place and ready to help you get on with your life in as little as 1-2 hours!
So if you’ve lost your crown, don’t lose your head! Call All Smiles.
Make An Appointment
Unlike many practices, All Smiles in Jacksonville, TX is open on Fridays. And, we provide emergency after-hours coverage. If a lost crown is causing you pain, schedule an emergency visit as soon as possible. You can reach our office at 903-625-9297.