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Dr. Na Xu
Healthy Smiles Family Dental

2601 25th St., Suite 400
Salem, OR 97302

P: (503) 385-1185
F: (503) 339-1981

Lost Crown or Filling? What You Need to Do

Posted on 10/23/2015 by Na Xu
A diagram of a dental filling inside a patients tooth.Have you recently had a crown or a filling fall out? While these restorations are intended to be permanent, there are several situations where they might fail.

If decay is located under the restoration, the tooth may no longer be able to hold the crown or filling tightly, and it may fall off.

While this isn't necessarily a dental emergency, it is something that you should see your dentist about right away so that additional damage does not occur.

After the Crown or Filling Falls Out

The first thing that you need to do after a filling or a crown falls out is to remove any pieces from your mouth to prevent accidental swallowing or inhaling. If the crown comes off in one piece, put it in a safe place so that you can bring it in to your dental appointment.

You should also be sure to call us right away to set up your appointment. Your remaining tooth won't be as strong as it was with the crown, and once the restoration has fallen off, you won't have any type of barrier to protect the tooth. Additionally, when a crown is gone for a considerable amount of time, your teeth could move into that space where the crown was formerly located, and if this is allowed to happen, your crown might not fit any longer.

Dealing with Pain and Discomfort

While you are waiting for your dental appointment, you could experience some pain and discomfort with your tooth. This is likely due to exposed dentin tubules, which can send signals of pain to the brain. You can take over-the-counter pain medications like Advil or Tylenol to relieve the pain, or you can purchase over-the-counter temporary dental filling materials like Temparin or Dentemp to try and cover up the exposed dentin tubules.

Caring for Your Teeth

If your crown or filling has fallen off and you have not yet been able to get to the dentist, your first reaction might be to avoid brushing and flossing in order to not aggravate the impacted tooth. This is a bad idea, as it is crucial that you take precautions to practice excellent oral hygiene while the restoration is off. Don't eat anything that could cause further damage to your tooth, and try to avoid chewing on that side entirely. You should also avoid foods that are especially sugary, as this could quickly jump start the decay process, and an unfilled tooth is a great place for harmful bacteria to get trapped and accumulate.

When brushing, be sure to brush your entire mouth, including the tooth with the missing restoration. However, brush the affected tooth gently, including inside of the hole where the filling once stood, to get out any food debris. You may also want to rinse out your mouth with a solution of warm salt water periodically.

At Your Dental Appointment

At your dental appointment, your dentist will examine the state of the tooth to determine the extent of the damage. Usually, decay will have changed the shape of the tooth, which is why the restoration fell out in the first place. If you lost a filling, your dentist will need to remove the decay that has formed between the tooth and the old filling, and a new filling will need to be put into place. Your dentist can help you to choose the right filling material to use, as there may be a more efficient option that was not available when you had your first filling put into place.

If your crown needs to be replaced, your dentist will likely have to prepare your tooth again if the shape of your tooth is significantly different. This means that a new crown will also need to be created in a dental lab. A temporary crown will likely be put into place, and you'll be asked to return when the permanent crown has been completed.

If you have lost a filling or a crown, please contact us to set up an appointment.

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