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Experiencing a dental emergency and losing a filling or a crown can be an unexpected and alarming experience. Dental restorations can fall out for many reasons such as when, over time, chewing hard foods loosens the filling or breaks down the bonding. Worse still, a filling or crown might fall out because of tooth decay.
If you have a crown or a filling that falls out, it is vital for you to take specific steps to protect the tooth from further damage. Regardless of the condition of the tooth underneath, caring for the tooth as quickly as possible is the first step.
How to Care for a Lost Filling or Crown
After realizing that you lost a filling or a crown, the first step is to remove it from your mouth so that you do not accidentally swallow it or potentially choke. If you already swallowed it, there is no need to panic. A swallowed dental restoration usually passes without issues. After removing the restoration, keep it in a safe place. Bring it to the dental office with you so that we can assess whether it can still be used after cleaning or if it needs to be replaced.
Immediately Call For An Emergency Appointment
After removing the broken or damaged crown, call your dentist to book an emergency appointment at the earliest date available. Emergency dental appointments are often reserved on the appointment calendar for this type of situation.
Temporary Fillings and Crowns
The main concern until you can get into a dentist is to protect the damaged 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.
- Hold the crown in place over the tooth to allow the cement to set. Dental cement can be found at most drugstores and can also be used to coat the tooth to 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.
While these are not permanent solutions, they should be able to seal and protect the tooth before you can get in to see a dental professional and have the tooth properly repaired.
Keep the Tooth Clean
You should always practice good oral hygiene, but you will need to 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 any food debris. You may also want to rinse your mouth with warm salt water after eating as an extra precaution.
Prevent Any pain or Sensitivity
When a filling or crown falls out, it may expose the nerves inside the tooth which can be quite painful, especially while eating or drinking. The pain can range from a dull ache to a sharp stabbing pain. Getting fast relief for your discomfort is necessary for the time between your restoration fell out and your dental appointment to have the tooth repaired.
Clove Oil. Found in most drugstores, applying a small amount of clove oil with a cotton swab can help alleviate discomfort and numb away the pain.
Pain Relievers. If the pain continues, taking an over-the-counter pain medication can also help to alleviate any pain and discomfort associated with the damaged tooth.
Avoid Certain Foods
When you do eat, avoid certain foods that can cause further decay or perhaps even cause additional pain and sensitivity. Attempt to chew your food on the unaffected side of your mouth when eating and avoid these types of food and drinks:
- Sweet foods and beverages
- Hard-to-chew foods
- Foods or drinks with very hot or frozen temperatures
- Acidic or erosive foods and liquids
Finding a Permanent Solution
Whether or not the filling or crown needs to be replaced, you still need to have a professional look at your tooth to determine if there are signs of decay in order to find a permanent solution. Contact Tompkins Dental as soon as possible if this misfortune happens to you.