Losing a filling or crown can be unexpected, startling, and certainly alarming. They may fall out for a number of reasons, such as chewing hard foods loosening the filling over time or saliva breaking down the bonding. Worse still, you may lose a filling or crown because of decay in which the foundation of the tooth rots away, causing it to lose support and fall out.
When the filling or crown falls out, you must take certain steps to protect the tooth. If left uncared for, food debris can get into the holes in your teeth and cause bacteria to grow and accelerate the decay. You need to care for it quickly before it becomes an even more difficult situation to handle.
Caring for a Lost Filling or Crown
Remove the filling or crown and keep it if you can
The first step after finding out that you lost a filling or crown is to remove it from your mouth so that you do not accidentally swallow it or breathe it in. If swallowed, there is no need to panic because it usually passes without problems.
After you remove it, keep it if you are able. Bring it into the dentist so that he or she may assess whether it can still be used after cleaning or if it needs to be replaced.
Immediately call a dentist for an appointment
After removal, call your dentist to book an appointment at the earliest possible date. They might be able to schedule something in their allotted time normally set apart for emergencies, but if you need to wait a until a later date, then the following steps will be helpful in order to protect the tooth.
Use a temporary filling material to replace the crown or to protect the tooth
Your main concern until you can get into a dentist is protecting the tooth. If you have lost a crown and have it intact, you may be able to slip it back over the tooth as a temporary solution. First, clean the inside of the crown and then coat it with dental cement and hold it in place. Dental cement that is found at most drug stores can also be used to simply coat the tooth and protect it from bacteria entering. Additionally, you can mold dental wax over the tooth to fill the void. Once again, these are not permanent solutions; they are meant to seal and protect the tooth before you can get in and see a dental professional.
Keep it clean
You should always practice good oral hygiene, but you should take extra care if you have an exposed interior of the tooth. Gently brush around and inside the affected tooth to remove food debris. You may also want to rinse your mouth with warm salt water after eating as an extra precaution.
Dull any pain or sensitivity
Sometimes when a filling or crown falls out, it may expose the nerves inside the teeth which can be painful, especially when eating or drinking. Buy clove oil, normally found in most drug stores, and apply it to to the tooth with a cotton swab. This will help alleviate discomfort and numb away the pain. If the pain continues, then take over-the-counter pain medication.
Avoid certain foods
First of all, try to chew your food on the unaffected side of your mouth. When you do eat, you also need to avoid certain foods that can cause further decay or perhaps even cause pain. These types of food and drinks may be:
- Sweet foods/drinks
- Hard to chew foods
- Food or drink with temperature extremes (very hot or very cold)
- Acidic or Erosive foods/drinks
Whether or not the filling or crown simply needs to be replaced, you still need to have a professional take a look at your tooth to see if there are signs of decay in order to take the necessary steps to treat it. Keep us at the top of your mind if you ever lose a filling or crown and contact our trained and friendly dental professionals at Little Rock Family Dental!