Dental first aid:
What to do if your dental crown or bridge comes off.
This page provides instructions for a temporary solution for uncomplicated cases where a dental crown ('dental cap') has simply come off its tooth (has come "unglued").
This same method can be applied to lost dental bridges. (In its most basic form, a dental bridge can be thought of as simply two crowns with an artificial tooth attached in between.) It can also be used with temporary dental crowns that have come off.
This page also provides estimates for how much it costs to have a crown or bridge permanently recemented.
[ Related page - What to do if you swallow a dental crown. ]
How to temporarily recement a lost crown or bridge with denture adhesive.
This first-aid approach uses denture adhesive as temporary glue. The denture adhesive isn't really strong enough to tightly anchor a lost crown or bridge in place. But using it can help to make wearing lost dental work possible for some events or activities, whereas without it doing so would be quite difficult.
In regards to wearing loose dental work, make sure you read the 'Considerations, concerns and precautions.' we list below. And, of course, as soon as arrangements can be made the lost item needs to be permanently recemented by a dentist.
A) Remove any loose debris from around your tooth or the inside of the crown.
Check your tooth and the interior of your crown for loose debris (food, fragments of dental cement). These objects must be removed because they will prevent the crown from seating properly on your tooth. Loose objects should be easy to brush or rinse away.
B) Seat the lost crown on your tooth as a test.
Figure out the orientation of your crown and then gently slip it back onto its tooth. Then, with absolutely no pressure, close your teeth together so to make sure that your crown is seated properly. (The crown should not interfere with your bite in any way. Your bite should feel exactly like it did before the crown came off.)
C) "Glue" the loose crown in place with denture adhesive.
Once tested, remove the crown from your tooth and then fill it with denture adhesive paste (use as much as you want). Now, reseat the crown back over your tooth (the excess adhesive will squish out and can be wiped away) and check your bite again (like before, using zero pressure), so to make sure that the cap is in place properly.
Alternatives to using denture adhesive paste as the "cement."
Denture adhesive paste is typically considered the best, most convenient temporary "glue" to use with a lost dental crown but there are alternatives. Denture adhesive powder is one. Vaseline or toothpaste can also serve as (less effective) substitutes. Some dislodged dental crowns may stay in place surprisingly well without the use of any type of temporary cement at all.
D) Be in contact with your dentist.
You absolutely must contact your dentist's office and report your circumstances. Seek their advice and make arrangements for them to evaluate your situation and recement your crown permanently. The fix we describe here is only temporary (only intended for use for a few days). And it's only intended for wearing the crown on a part-time basis (see 'Considerations, concerns and precautions' below.).
Why should you wear a crown or bridge that has come off?
By wearing a lost dental crown or bridge intermittently you can:
- Restore your appearance back to normal (especially important if a front tooth's restoration has fallen off).
- Help to minimize the tooth's sensitivity to hot, cold and air stimuli.
- Help to minimize the potential for neighboring or opposing teeth to shift position, thus complicating or negating the possibility of your dentist being able to recement the crown or bridge.
How much does it cost to recement a dental crown?
Here's an estimate of what it might cost to have a dentist recement a lost dental crown.
1) Some dentists may not charge for recementing a crown or bridge if they were the dentist that placed it originally.
Loose crowns: Concerns and cautions.
These rules and considerations apply to loose dental bridges too.
Only properly seated restorations should be worn.
If your bite feels different or amiss when the restoration that fell off is placed back over its tooth, it is not seated properly and should not be worn while it is in this position. Wearing a crown that is "too high" can result in (possibly significant) damage to the crowned tooth or its neighboring teeth.
There are times when your loose crown should be removed.
When using denture adhesive "cement," you have to anticipate that your crown will still dislodge relatively easily. This means that you must use prudence and take precautions accordingly. As an example, for fear of swallowing the crown if it comes off, it makes sense to remove the crown when sleeping. The same precaution should also be taken when eating (of course you'll need to keep your chewing activities away from your uncovered tooth so you don't damage it) and possibly even when drinking beverages.
Wear your lost crown as much as you safely can.
You should wear your dislodged crown as much as you feel you can (keep in mind the type of limitations and precautions we describe above). Doing so will help to minimize the chances that the crowned tooth (or its neighboring or opposing teeth) will shift position. If a significant amount of tooth shifting does take place, your dentist may not be able to recement the crown and instead will have to make you a new one.
The weight of a dental bridge can have an affect on the success of temporarily cementing it.
Dental bridges involve multiple teeth and because of this they can be quite heavy. This weight factor can negatively affect the stability of denture-adhesive recementation technique, especially for upper bridges. This point should be kept in mind and, when a dislodged bridge is worn, precautions should be taken accordingly.
[ Reference: Diamond, R. Dental First Aid for Families. Idyll Arbor, Inc. 2000. ]