A dental crown is a durable, tooth-shaped cap that can improve the strength, shape, and appearance of a tooth. In most cases, these versatile restorations can last 10-15 years or more. However, they’re not impervious to accidents that may damage, loosen, or knock them out of place. Typically, a lost dental crown in Tulsa is not a dental emergency, but you should always call your dentist right away to be sure. Here’s a step-by-step guide to keep your smile safe if your dental crown falls off.
Step 1: Locate the Crown
Do your best to locate your lost crown right away. Take the dental crown and any of its broken pieces out of your mouth. While swallowing them typically won’t cause you any harm, you don’t want to run the risk of accidentally choking on it. If you can’t find your crown, there’s no need to panic—your dentist will simply make you a new one.
Step 2: Inspect Your Mouth
Next, look inside your mouth where your dental crown should be. Are there pieces still lodged in place? Is the underlying tooth broken? Are there sharp edges that can damage your tongue or cheeks? Are you in significant pain? This is all important information that will help your dentist determine whether your situation qualifies as a dental emergency or not.
Step 3: Call Your Dentist
Even if you’re not in pain, call your dentist as soon as you can. They’ll assess your unique circumstances over the phone, schedule your appointment, and give you personalized first aid advice over the phone. After taking into account all the information you’ve given them, they’ll decide how urgent your situation is. Since the vulnerable tooth that was being protected by the dental crown is susceptible to damage and decay, they will likely have you come in within the next few days if not later that same day.
Step 4: Mitigating Discomfort & Preventing Damage
Listen carefully to your dentist’s instructions on how to handle your unique situation. Depending on the severity of your emergency, they may give you these tips until you get to their office for your appointment:
- Minimize pain or tooth sensitivity by taking over-the-counter pain relievers as directed or applying an ice pack for 10 minutes at a time.
- Prevent infection by dissolving a teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water and rinsing your mouth out with the solution.
- Protect your soft tissues by concealing any jagged edges with sugarless gum or dental wax.
- Avoid eating or chew carefully to prevent causing any further damage to the area and minimizing your tooth’s exposure to debris.
- Replace your dental crown ONLY if instructed to do so by your dentist. You can also keep it in a clean, dry container and bring it with you to your appointment.
Thankfully, it’s unlikely that your dental crown will fall out. However, knowing what to do in this situation can help you act quickly, calmly, and correctly. If you’re ever unsure of how to handle a particular dental symptom or circumstance, don’t hesitate to contact your Tulsa dentist.