Dental Crown Hurts, Fell Out, Broken, or Infected

What to Do When a Dental Crown Hurts, Becomes Dislodged, or is Infected

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A dentist might have said you need a crown if you cracked a tooth. A dental crown is a cap for a damaged tooth. Unlike a veneer, a crown typically covers the front of a tooth and is designed to support weak or damaged teeth.


Knowing how to handle the situation is essential if your crown becomes dislodged or falls out.

What to do if your crown falls out

Imagine this scenario: You bite, only to feel something strange and lumpy on your tongue. Your crown has become dislodged and is floating around in your mouth.


If this happens to you, the most important thing is to retrieve the crown so you can take it to a dentist. There’s a chance that they can clean it up and fit it back into your mouth.


Next, you can call NKC Dental to make an appointment. You’ll need to either replace the crown or get a new one. Ask the dentist if there are any other special instructions that you should follow until your appointment.


Some dentists suggest you reinsert the crown back into its spot, and you need to clean the inside of the crown with toothpaste gently. Then, use dental adhesive (or even toothpaste or sugar-free gum) to temporarily “glue” the crown back into its spot on your jawline. You can buy temporary dental cement at a pharmacy or grocery store.


Be careful when eating until you get your new crown, and avoid chewing on the crown. Stick to soft foods and liquids until you can get the crown replaced.

What not to do if your crown falls out

The most important thing to remember if your crown comes loose is this: Don’t swallow it! If it falls out of your mouth, find it and hold on to it.


Other necessary steps to take while you’re missing a crown in your mouth:


  • Avoid foods that are sticky, hard, or require a lot of chewing.

  • Try to avoid chewing food on the affected side of your mouth.

  • Be gentle when brushing your teeth.

What if a temporary crown fell out?

Unless you get a same-day crown, a dentist will usually install a temporary crown first. Think of this as a placeholder. You might have a temporary crown for a couple of weeks.


Since temporary crowns are typically installed with temporary cement, you may need to be extra careful with them. Your dentist may suggest avoiding hard, chewy, and sticky foods.

Even with care, a temporary crown can come out. Tell your dentist and ask for instructions. In the meantime, follow the same basic protocol if a permanent crown falls out. [2]

Treating teeth after a crown falls out

After your crown becomes dislodged, a dentist will evaluate both the site of the crown and the crown itself.


Depending on the integrity of the crown and the status of your mouth, they’ll have to decide whether to reinstall the crown or to create and install a new one.


Some research suggests that it can be possible to use an existing crown even if your tooth is fractured underneath, although it may need a little work before it can be reinstalled. However, if your tooth underneath is broken, you may need a new crown to ensure a perfect fit. [3]


If you need a new crown and your tooth is damaged, a dentist must prepare it, which may mean filing the tooth or adding some filling material to build it up. Then, the dentist will install a temporary crown for some time to make the new one.


Some dentists also offer same-day crowns made from strong ceramic materials like CEREC. You can forego the temporary crown in this situation.

Why do dental crowns come loose?

You may not realize your crown has become loose until it falls out. There are a variety of reasons, however, that it can happen.


Sometimes, you can develop tooth decay in the remainder of the tooth under the crown. Bacteria can creep up under the crown and cause decay, especially if some cement gets worn or washed away. As the decay takes hold, it can affect the crown’s fit.


The crown may become loose and more prone to falling out. Sometimes, just enough tooth is left to hold a crown firmly in place.


Other causes of loose crowns can include:


  • an improperly fitted crown

  • not enough cement holding the crown in place

  • sticky foods that pull a crown out of place

  • grinding your teeth

  • a seriously weakened tooth


Sometimes, a crown will only get partially dislodged. If it’s hanging precariously by one side, you might want to go ahead and remove the crown.

Can you prevent a crown from falling out?

You cannot do much if your crown isn’t properly fitted into your mouth or the cement has weakened. But you can still be proactive about caring for your crown to reduce the chances it will lose.


A few steps recommended by the Academy of General Dentistry include: [4]


  • don’t chew ice

  • avoid or be very careful eating very sticky or chewy foods

  • brush your teeth twice a day

  • floss regularly

  • use an interdental brush (a wider brush that goes in between teeth like floss) to remove any plaque from the area where your gum meets the tooth and crown [5]


If you grind your teeth at night, a dentist might also recommend wearing a mouthguard to protect your crown and other teeth.


If you lose a crown, you’re not the first or the last person to do so. The most important thing to remember is to call a dentist to schedule an appointment to have the crown refitted or replaced. In the meantime, hold onto the crown and go easy on your mouth when eating.

References & Resources [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

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NKC Dental 2023