As many as 90% of U.S. adults will get at least one cavity in their life. A filling is a composite material used to fill the space in a cavity where decay once resided. Crowns are a tooth-shaped restorative cover that is used to protect and strengthen the tops of damaged teeth.
Depending on the age of the filling (or crown), the material it’s made from and extenuating circumstances like trauma to the mouth, fillings or crowns can fall out. In other instances, crowns and fillings may come loose due to underlying tooth decay which can erode portions of the teeth that keep a filling or crown in place.
While generally not considered an emergency, a lost filling or crown can result in moderate to severe discomfort or pain caused by sensitivity to temperature, pressure or air. If possible, it’s always recommended that you keep loose crowns in a safe place, and then schedule a same-day or walk-in dental appointment with an emergency dentist as soon as possible.
Even if your pain level is manageable, it’s not a good idea to wait before making an appointment. An uncovered tooth isn’t going to be as strong or complete as the crown itself. Without the hard, protective material of your crown, you risk further eroding the tooth where the lost crown was, or allowing the surrounding teeth to shift and fill the space so that the crown no longer fits.
Pain from a lost filling or crown can be disruptive to your daily routine, and impede eating, chewing or speaking. You may take an over-the-counter pain reliever to relieve pain symptoms until your dental visit. Always see your dentist to resolve a lost filling or crown, in the interim there are ways to fix a lost filling or crown at home: