What to Do When Your Dental Crown is Damaged or Loose

Posted on: 25 October 2017


There are many reasons why a dental crown can become damaged or loose. Whatever the reason, it can be a rather alarming feeling. Dental crowns are designed to last, and yet there are instances where they might not stand the test of time. So what are some of the reasons why a dental crown can become damaged or loose? And what is the best way to deal with the situation?

The Causes

Whether they're made from porcelain, a composite resin, or metal, dental crowns are stronger than natural teeth. Having said that, they are not invulnerable to damage. Blunt force trauma (a blow to your mouth) can chip or crack a crown, much like it can a natural tooth. Using your teeth for anything other than chewing food (such as opening a bottle or packet) can also conceivably crack or chip a crown. There is also the possibility of changes to the surface on which the crown sits. The natural tooth underneath it might have undergone decay, destabilizing the crown. This is what often causes the crown to become loose or even fall off.

A Cracked or Chipped Dental Crown

A cracked or chipped dental crown will obviously require a visit to a dentist. The matter does not constitute a dental emergency, but the matter should still be dealt with as soon as possible. Further damage is possible, and if the crown has been breached, bacteria can enter the site. You might also notice discomfort if the dental pulp has been exposed, particularly when eating food that is particularly cold or spicy. If a root canal was performed to remove the pulp prior to the attachment of the crown, this discomfort is unlikely to occur. Depending on the severity of the damage, the crown might be able to be repaired while still in your mouth.

A Loose Crown

If the crown actually becomes loose and falls off, you should place the crown into a suitable container. It contains no living tissue, so it's not as though you need to store it in a way that will preserve it. Be very cautious about the tooth that has been exposed. It might have unfamiliar jagged edges which can irritate your tongue. There might also be sensitivity if the dental pulp has been exposed. If a jagged edge is causing problems, attaching a small piece of sugar free gum to the edge in question can bring temporary relief. Don't sleep like this though, as you don't want to risk swallowing a wad of gum in your sleep. See your dentist as soon as possible. Depending on the state of the tooth that has been exposed, a new dental crown might be required, although the dentist will also investigate the possibility of re-attaching the saved crown.

A damaged or loose dental crown can be a significant annoyance, and while it's not quite an emergency, it's important to have it treated as soon as possible.