Lost Filling or Crown
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.
What can I do if I lose a filling or crown?
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.
How to manage the pain of a lost filling or crown
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:
- If possible, slip the crown over the tooth, to protect the open area from the pain of being overexposed. Covering the tooth can help protect against air or hot and cold sensations. However, before you make strides to fit the crown back on the tooth, be sure to thoroughly rinse the inside.
- Over-the-counter tooth “cement” from the dental section of your pharmacy can temporarily hold a crown in place. Coat the inside of your crown, and apply very gentle pressure to reapply the cap over the tooth. Always seek advice from your dentist before trying at-home solutions and never use actual glue which can be toxic and damaging.
- If you’ve lost or swallowed the crown entirely, dental cement, adhesive or Vaseline can also be applied directly to the tooth’s surface and will help seal and protect from the elements until you are able to get in to see your dentist.