Going to the dentist is rarely an activity people look forward to. While there are those who enjoy the squeaky-clean feeling of a good dental cleaning, the experience becomes more burdensome if the reason for the visit is to get a root canal, dental crown, or filling. The thought alone can be nerve-wracking. So if a crown or filling falls out, you may be wondering what to do. Is there anything you can do at home? What can you expect from a follow-up visit to the dentist?
What to Do When Your Dental Crown Falls Out
When a dental crown or filling falls out, you have to be proactive to protect the tooth and the sensitive tissue that’s now exposed. Do not put this on the back burner — ignoring the problem because it’s not really bothering you may result in food particles getting into the bare crevices. This creates an ideal location for bacterial overgrowth and — in turn — tooth decay. So, what can you do to protect yourself?
1. Remove the dental filling or crown.
Do this as soon as possible, so that you don’t risk accidentally swallowing it. If you do swallow it, do not panic. You should be able to pass it through digestion. However, if you accidentally breathe it in, you may risk choking.
2. Use a temporary filling material.
Fill up the area with dental wax. You can purchase it at most drugstores. Keep in mind that this is a good way to protect your tooth, but it’s only meant to be a provisional solution. This material won’t fully seal your tooth, so you’re still exposed to infection.
3. Schedule an appointment with your dentist.
Set up an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the higher the risk of complications.
4. Keep the area clean.
Rinse your mouth with warm water and salt. Do this several times a day. When brushing your teeth, make sure to do so gently around the exposed area. Do not skip it for fear of causing additional damage. Without the filling, it’s more likely for food debris to become lodged in the area.
5. Avoid certain foods.
Some food items are more likely than others to promote tooth decay. These include sugary foods and drinks (such as candy, pastries, bread, pasta, potato chips, and soda) as well as acidic foods (such as citrus fruit, alcohol, sports drinks, salad dressing, vinegar, berries, pickles, and tomatoes).
How to Prevent It From Falling Out Again
The best way to prevent this issue is to schedule regular dental care. Doing so will allow your dentist to notice any uneven wear and tear before you even realize there’s an issue. Your dentist will also address any potential plaque buildup and provide you with instructions to prevent it from accumulating as often. That being said, it’s possible for a filling or crown to fall off unexpectedly — such as when biting hard into a food item, due to tooth decay, or when experiencing trauma. In such a case, you may need to seek emergency treatment.
If you need help with your oral health, let us help you.
At North River Dental, we have more than 30 years of experience in cosmetic dentistry. If your dental crown or filling fell out, let us help you.