Losing a filling or crown can be unexpected, startling, and certainly alarming. They may fall out for a number of reasons such as when, over time, chewing hard foods loosens the filling or saliva breaks down the bonding. Worse still, a filling or crown might fall out because of tooth 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. Tooth decay can lead to numerous other problems with teeth and gums, and it often can lead to a bad odor in your mouth.
If you find that your crown or filling has fallen out, regardless of the condition of the tooth underneath, you need to care for the tooth quickly before it becomes an even more difficult situation to handle.
How to Care for a Lost Filling or Crown
Step 1: Remove The Filling Or Crown And Keep It If You Can
After finding out that you lost a filling or crown, 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. However, if you breathe in the crown, you might choke or it could get lodged in your lungs, causing more complicated problems. This rarely happens, but if you can prevent it in any way, that is encouraged.
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.
Step 2: Immediately Call A Dentist For An Appointment
After removing the broken or damaged crown, call your dentist to book an appointment at the earliest possible date. They might be able to schedule your visit during the time set aside for emergency dental needs, but if you need to wait a until a later date, then the following steps will be helpful in order to protect the tooth.
Step 3: Use A Temporary Filling Material To Replace The Crown Or 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 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 and provide a barrier for a short period of time. Many dentist offices provide dental wax for patients who have braces or other procedures, but you can typically find it at drug stores as well.
These are not permanent solutions; they are meant to seal and protect the tooth before you can get in and see a dental professional.
Step 4: 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 after a crown or filling falls out. 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.
Step 5: 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. The pain can range from a dull ache to a sharp sting, and getting relief fast is necessary in the time between your crown or filling falling out and your dental appointment.
One possible solution to try is to 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.
If you need more ideas for relieving tooth pain until a more permanent procedure can be done to alleviate it, read our blog about immediate tooth pain relief for more methods you can try to
Step 6: Avoid Certain Foods
If you’re still worried about teeth sensitivity or causing any other problems to your tooth before your crown or filling can be replaced, 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
It is important to be mindful of your tooth’s condition until a visit with your dentist can occur because you will want to avoid further damaging it. This is especially the case if your filling or crown came out because the tooth has decayed, as it is possible the dentist will recommend a more robust solution to your tooth problems, such as removing the tooth or performing a procedure like a root canal.
Contact Our Dentists in Little Rock, AR
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!