A crown is a prosthetic replacement of the outer tooth structure. A crown may be recommended if you have extensive tooth decay, large fillings that compromise the tooth’s structure, a large crack in your tooth, significant erosion of tooth enamel, or following a root canal. And once you get your new crown, you will want to keep it!
Temporary vs. Permanent Crowns
When you get a crown placed, your dentist will prepare the tooth by treating decay or damage and removing some of the tooth structure to make space for the crown. Your dentist will take an impression of the remaining shape of your tooth, from which a permanent crown will be custom-made. Your dentist will then place a temporary crown until your permanent crown is fabricated and ready to be placed.
The temporary crown will not be as stable as your permanent crown, as it is not custom-fitted to your tooth, and it is adhered with a temporary adhesive so it can be removed when it is time for your permanent crown. However, while permanent crowns are tougher, they can still fall out.
Reasons Dental Crowns Come Off
You can get your crown put back on or get a new crown if it is lost. But most of us would rather avoid the hassle and expense of replacing a crown. Here are some common reasons patients lose their crowns and how to avoid them.
Bruxism is the clinical name for tooth grinding. While some grind their teeth during the day, many do so during sleep hours, so it can be hard to tell if you suffer from bruxism. You may notice headaches or jaw pain. Your dentist may be able to find signs of tooth grinding by examining you. Tooth grinding, whenever it occurs, can damage teeth – and crowns. Your crown may become loose, crack, or fall out due to tooth grinding.
Talk to your dentist about treatments. Stress often triggers bruxism, and stress reduction techniques can help. But if you are suffering from damaged teeth or broken crowns, you may be a candidate for a night guard to protect your teeth.
Tooth decay can be a reason you need a crown, but it can also be a reason you lose your crown. Your crown is specifically fitted to the shape of the tooth structure at the time it is placed. If your tooth suffers further damage from decay, that shape can change, loosening the fit of your crown.
Getting dental work, including a crown, should motivate you to maintain excellent oral hygiene to preserve that dental work and avoid needing more. Use fluoride toothpaste to brush twice daily for two minutes with a soft toothbrush, and floss to clean between teeth. Get regular dental exams and cleanings twice per year to keep decay at bay.
Damage to crowns can result from trauma, such as a blow to the face. Just like your teeth, your crown is not indestructible, and an unfortunate accident can lead to it becoming damaged or lost.
While we can’t avoid all accidents, there are some times when injuries can be prevented. If appropriate, always wear a mouthguard or helmet when playing a sport. Keeping your teeth healthy and free from decay can make them more resilient and less likely to become damaged as a result of trauma.
Lastly, certain foods can damage your dental crown. While your permanent crown is about as strong and durable as your natural teeth, you should watch out for certain foods, especially while you have a temporary crown.
Avoid the following foods while you have a temporary crown or if your permanent crown feels loose and you are awaiting a dentist appointment:
- Chewy foods: Caramels, taffy, gum, toffee.
- Tough foods: Steak and crusty bread.
- Hard food: Hard Candy and ice (also, if your crown is near the front, avoid meat on the bone and corn on the cob).
- Extreme temperature: Very hot or cold foods.
What to Do if You Lose Your Crown
If you lose or damage your crown, it is usually not an urgent emergency, but you should make a dental appointment as soon as possible and bring your crown with you if you have it. Call our office, and we will be happy to repair a lost crown!