Dental crowns are meant to protect and preserve the tooth beneath them. They may be put on a tooth that is badly cracked and that your dentist fears will crack further, and they are also used to preserve "dead" teeth that have had their nerves removed but are still anchored in your jaw. So, when a crown falls out, it is kind of a big deal -- your tooth is no longer getting that protection that your dentist determined it needed.
What do you need to do when a crown falls out? Read on to find out.
Call Your Dentist
Though having a crown fall out is a big deal, it is not always a dental emergency. If you call your dentist and describe which tooth had the crown and what you're experiencing, they will probably schedule an appointment with you within the next few days. However, if you are in a lot of pain, you may be advised to see an emergency dentist ASAP. You should also call an emergency dentist if your regular dentist is closed and the tooth is causing you substantial pain, or if you happened to cut your tongue or cheek on the crown when it came out and are bleeding significantly.
Find and Rinse the Crown
If you swallowed the crown, head to the immediate care center or call your doctor's office if they are open. Though the risk of the crown causing serious damage is pretty low, you should get checked out just in case it decides to lodge in your stomach or intestines. You will also need to "watch" for the crown in the coming days and recover it so you can have it reattached.
Assuming you did not swallow the crown, find it and give it a good rinse in clear water. Then, rinse it off with some antiseptic mouthwash, which should kill any bacteria on its surface. Let it air dry.
Reattach the Crown
Unless your dentist tells you to do otherwise, you can reattach the crown temporarily until you make it in to your dentist appointment. This will help ease your pain and will also protect the tooth until your dentist is able to permanently reattach the crown. Purchase some denture cream over-the-counter at your local pharmacy. Before applying it to your crown, test the crown to make sure you know which way it is supposed to fit over your tooth. Then, apply a small dab of denture cream to the tooth, and press the crown back into place.
Since the crown and the tooth underneath it will be very fragile until you have the crown put back into place, try to chew on the other side of your mouth for the time being. Also, avoid overly crunchy foods like chips and nuts, opting instead for soft and smooth foods. Use caution with every bite to make sure that if the crown falls out again, you do not swallow it.
Use Simple Pain Relief Methods
There is a good chance your mouth will be a little sore until you have the crown put back into place. You can hold an ice pack against your cheek and take over-the-counter pain relievers in order to alleviate this soreness. If the pain ever becomes intense or you start experiencing symptoms like fever, swelling of the gums, or pus exuding from the gums, contact an emergency dentist. These are signs of an infection, which can sometimes occur if decay in the crowned tooth contributed to loss of the crown.
In most cases, having your crown put back into place is a simple process that your dentist can complete in a single appointment. For more tips on what to do in a dental emergency, check out websites like dentistofmanchester.com.