What are dental crowns?
Dental crowns are one of the principle restoration treatments used in dentistry today.
They take the form of tooth-shaped caps that sit over the top of teeth that are damaged, broken, or severely decayed. Unlike veneers, crowns completely encase the affected tooth inside.
Crowns are custom-designed to replicate the size and shape of your other teeth so that they look as natural as possible once in place.
They can be made in a variety of materials including:
- Porcelain fused to metal (PFM)
- Porcelain fused to zirconia (PFZ)
- 100% ceramic
People who require a crown on a tooth that is situated near the front of the mouth tend to opt for 100% ceramic or porcelain fused to metal crowns.
This is because they can be color-matched to the patient’s existing teeth, making them virtually imperceptible. Our back teeth tend to work a lot harder than our front ones, and so most dentists recommend that metal-based crowns are used for them, as they are stronger and more resilient that all-ceramic varieties.
Why has my dental crown come loose?
Despite their widespread use and high success rate, there are occasions where a dental crown may come loose. There are several reasons why a crown may become loose.
The crown does not fit properly over the damaged tooth In order to fit a dental crown, the underlying tooth must first be prepared so that the crown fits well over the top. In some cases, this means filing down the damaged or decayed tooth, and in others, filling material may be needed to build the affected tooth up to the correct size.
If the crown does not fit properly over the tooth, the cement that is used to secure it in place can wash out from underneath it, causing it to come loose.
- Underlying decay. Dental crowns are prosthetic so they are cannot decay but the natural tooth that is encased within your crown can. Decay usually develops along the gum line where the crown and tooth meet. When this happens, the decay can cause the cement to break down and your crown to come loose.
- Deteriorating dental cement. A special cement is used to hold your crown in place, but over time the adhesiveness of the cement can deteriorate, causing the crown to come loose.
- Too many sticky sweets. While the occasional sticky toffee may not do your teeth any harm, people who regularly indulge find that the pull on their crowns each time they eat them can cause them to gradually weaken over time. In many cases, a crown can even come off entirely as a result of becoming stuck to a sticky candy.
What do I do if my dental crown is loose or falls out?
If your crown seems loose or has fallen out, you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
Losing a crown is usually considered to be a dental emergency, and most dentists will do their best to see you within 48 hours of your call. In many cases, they may be able to refit your crown before the tooth underneath suffers from further damage or decay.
In the meantime, if your crown has come off completely but you still have it, you should try and pop it back onto the affected tooth using a dab of toothpaste or dental adhesive. This will help protect the tooth underneath until you can see your dentist.
If you have lost the crown, make sure that you tell your dentist this when you call. Teeth that have lost their crowns are at a high risk of infection and further decay and may be extremely sensitive or painful. By letting your dentist know that there is no way of covering the affected tooth until you see them, they may be able to schedule your appointment even sooner.
If you have a dental crown that seems loose, seek professional help immediately to get it secure in back in place and protect yourself from losing it entirely. At PGA Advanced Dentistry in Palm Beach Gardens, we frequently treat failed dental work by replacing loose or broken crowns with higher quality materials that will last. Call us today to learn more .