If your crown falls off and it doesn’t hurt, you should have it recemented as soon as possible. If don’t try to glue it back on, there will be consequences and none of them will be to your liking.
However, you should count yourself lucky that your tooth doesn’t hurt even with the crown off because that makes it urgent but not emergent. In other words, you’re in better condition than someone whose tooth does hurt with the crown off. If it hurts, it becomes a dental emergency but since yours is painless, it means you at least have more options on what to do.
Let’s start off with a decision tree on how to approach this precarious situation and then we’ll describe in detail for what to do.
Able to see dentist
If you’re able to get an appointment with your dentist within the next 3 days, you’ve two options.
- Try to reglue it back on temporarily with temporary glue from the pharmacy.
- Leave the crown off but store it in a safe place.
Attempting to reglue it at home
Even though it may not hurt, the best course of action is to temporarily reglue it back on. You may accomplish this by purchasing a temporary crown glue kit from your local pharmacy.
How to do it:
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Try the crown back in your mouth to figure out the correct orientation.
- Rinse off the crown and dry it.
- Place a THIN layer of temporary glue inside.
- Reseat the crown back over your tooth.
- Bite your teeth together a couple of times to make sure it is fully seated.
What you need to watch out for is to not place too much glue inside of the crown. If you put too much in sometimes it won’t fit over your tooth all the way. In this case, having a little bit less than you need is actually better than having too much.
If your bite feels too high after putting it back in, you’re going to be in trouble. Chewing and eating will be difficult and that’ll quickly transform your situation from urgent to emergent.
Why you’d want to reglue it
The purpose of recementing it back on is so that it can protect your tooth and prevent the teeth from shifting.
- Protection. The crown is much stronger than the dentin because it is meant to protect your tooth. With the tooth cap off, the dentin is exposed and is more prone to damage.
- Prevent shifting. If you leave the crown off for too long the adjacent teeth can shift. If they shift too much you may not be able to get the crown back on.
Leaving the crown off
If you’re not as handy or not confident enough to reglue the cap back on, you’re permitted to simply leave it off until you see your dentist. Just remember to do these two things.
- Store the crown in safe place. Keep it in a ziplock bag or a coin pouch so that you don’t lose it. You need to bring it to your appointment so that your dentist can reglue it. We’ve had patients who’ve lost their crown or threw it away by accident. Yes, we made them pay for a brand new one if they lost it because it is 100% their fault!
- Keep the tooth clean. Don’t forget to brush and floss the tooth. With the crown off, the dentin is exposed which is softer and easier to get cavities.
- Avoid chewing hard foods on it. Please avoid eating extremely hard foods on that tooth since it doesn’t have a cap protecting it. You don’t want to crack it accidentally.
Hopefully your appointment is within the next 3 days so you only have to bear through it.
Unable to see dentist
If you are unable to see your dentist within the next 3 days, we highly recommend trying to reglue the crown back on your tooth. Even if there is no pain, you shouldn’t leave the crown off and your tooth exposed for that long.
The best thing to do would be to pick up a temporary filling and crown kit from your local pharmacy and follow the instructions on how to use it.
Alternatively if your own dentist can’t see you, perhaps you can find a different dentist who may be able to accommodate you. This is always an option if you’re not comfortable cementing your own tooth cap back on.
What if I do nothing?
You may be wondering since you’re not feeling any pain, couldn’t you just leave the crown off? Well you can but there are consequences to doing so because it increases the risk of complications.
Consequences of not putting the crown back on:
- Risk damaging the the tooth with no crown.
- Can potentially become painful in the future.
- The crown may not fit if left off for too long.
Increased risk of tooth damage
Leaving the crown off for an extended period of time may increase the risk of damaging the tooth. With the cap off, what you are left with is the softer dentin layer. The dentin isn’t as sturdy as the enamel nor the porcelain crown. This means it is more prone to fractures as well as tooth decay.
May not be painless forever
As of the moment your tooth may not hurt but it may not stay that way. There is a chance it may start hurting in a few days time. There is no guarantee that it’ll stay asymptomatic.
However if the tooth is dead or had a root canal, it will actually stay pain-free.
Crown won’t fit later
If you leave the crown off for too long, the adjacent teeth can shift. That means there is a potential your own crown may not fit anymore once you finally make it to your dentist. They’ll try to fit it back on but it just won’t fit in.
If that happens you will need to have a brand new dental crown made. That means you’ll have to redo the entire procedure all over again. The worst part of it is that you will need to pay for it new cap again.
In regards to the cost, if your crown is less than 5 years old, your insurance may not cover a new one. That is bad news because then you’ll be responsible for the full cost without any help from your dental insurance.
The potential of having to spend more money out of pocket should be enough reason for you to get that crown glued back on as soon as possible.
If your crown happens to fall off but it doesn’t hurt, you should still contact your dentist and have it reglued promptly. If you leave it off for too long, your teeth may shift and then the old crown may not fit anymore. Once that happens you’ll have to pay for a brand new one.