What to do if you have a loose crown or bridge fall out. -

Instructions for how to temporarily recement lost dental work. / Precautions to take. / Why it's important to continue to wear a restoration that has come off. / Permanent recementation costs for crowns and bridges.

This page contains directions that explain how to temporarily recement dental crowns (caps) that have come loose from their tooth and as a result have fallen out (the "glue" holding the restoration in place has simply let go).

This same technique can also be applied to bridges that have come off, as well as the temporary restorations you're wearing while your permanent work is being completed.

Additional issues about lost restorations that may be of interest.

 

Instructions for temporarily recementing a crown or bridge that has fallen out.

The plan.

This technique uses denture adhesive as "glue" for recementing crowns or bridges that have come off. This is a temporary measure only. It's just intended to get you by until you can receive attention from your dentist.

Goals and objectives.
  • Denture adhesive itself isn't really expected to be strong enough to tightly bind loose restorations to their teeth. (Especially heavy all-metal crowns or long-span bridges.)

    But the idea is that it should add enough stability (possibly surprisingly so) that it's possible for you to continue wearing your lost restoration (something that's very important to do) for much of your day.

  • As an advantage of this technique, if you error in performing it you have done nothing that's irreversible or will place you in a worse-off position.
  • And unlike some other types of "glues" you might use, denture adhesive won't interfere with the recementation process your dentist will perform later.
! Precautions about wearing loose dental work.

There are a number of concerns and precautions that a person wearing any type of lost dental work needs to be aware of and heed. You must stay vigilant of the fact that even with this temporary fix your restoration is still loose from its tooth and absolutely can be dislodged.

And in all cases, as soon as arrangements can be made your crown or bridge needs to be permanently recemented by a dentist.

How to temporarily recement a crown (or bridge) that has fallen out.

  1. Remove any loose debris from around your tooth or inside your crown.
  2. Seat the crown over your tooth as a test.
  3. With zero pressure, close your teeth together to confirm that it's seated properly.
  4. Remove the crown and partially fill it with denture adhesive. (The adhesive acts as temporary "glue.")
  5. Squish your crown back into place.
  6. With zero pressure, close your teeth together to confirm that it's seated properly.
  7. Wipe away the excess adhesive.

! The following paragraphs explain the process outlined above in greater detail.

Remove any loose debris from around your tooth or the inside of your crown.

Recementing a loose dental crown.

Debris inside the crown will keep it from seating fully.

As a first step, check your tooth and the inside of your crown for loose debris (food, fragments of dental cement, anything else). These kinds of objects should be easy enough to brush or rinse away. Stubborn items inside your crown can be dislodged with a tooth pick.

Any foreign or loose items must be removed because they will prevent the crown from seating properly on your tooth (see illustration).

Seat the lost crown over your tooth as a test.

Figure out the orientation of your crown and then gently slip it over its tooth. Then, with absolutely no pressure, close your teeth together so to make sure that it's seated properly.

  • It should not interfere with your bite in any way.
  • Your bite should feel exactly like it did before the crown came off, and pretty much the way it does when the crown is not in place.

If it doesn't feel right, it's most likely that either:

  • You don't have the crown oriented on your tooth correctly, so switch it around.
  • There's still a piece of debris in the way. Check your tooth and inside the crown again.

"Glue" the loose crown in place with denture adhesive.

After your testing has been successful, fill the crown with a squirt of denture adhesive (the kind that comes in a tube) or if you have the powder kind, sprinkle it in and moisten it.

(The crown doesn't have to be full. But there should be enough that some excess will squish out when the crown is seated.)

Place the filled crown back over your tooth. (Do it slowly enough that the excess has no trouble squishing out.) Then wipe away the excess with your finger or toothbrush.

Then just like before and still using zero pressure, gently check your bite so to confirm that your crown is seated properly. (If it isn't, take it back off and start from the beginning of these instructions again.)

Note: What you've just accomplished is a temporary solution only (just intended for a few days use). And should only be used for wearing the crown on a part-time basis (see "Concerns and Precautions" section below).

Be in contact with your dentist.

You absolutely must make contact with your dentist's office.

You need to let them know that your crown has fallen out and that you need an appointment to have it permanently recemented.


Wearing loose crowns- Concerns and cautions. What you need to do.

These rules and considerations apply to loose dental bridges too.

a) Only fully seated restorations should be worn.

If your bite feels different or wrong when your crown that has come off is placed back over its tooth, it's not seated properly and should not be worn if that status can not be resolved.

That's because wearing a restoration that's "too high" can result in damage to its tooth or opposing teeth. In some cases this damage can be significant. As worst case scenarios, one of your teeth might fracture, or have its nerve traumatized to the point where root canal treatment is required.

b) You should wear your crown as much as you safely can .

You should try to wear your restoration that has come off as much as is reasonably possible. That's because the more it is in place the less likely that your teeth (the crowned tooth or any of its neighboring or opposing teeth) will shift in position.

If a significant amount of tooth shifting takes place, your dentist may not be able to recement your restoration and instead will have to make you a new one.

There are times when your loose crown should be removed.

With just denture adhesive used as cement, your temporarily recemented dental work should be taken out during activities where its dislodgment is a possibility. Two examples are:

  • For fear of swallowing the item if it does fall off, it makes sense to remove it while sleeping.
  • The same precaution should also be taken when eating. (Of course, you'll need to keep your eating and drinking activities away from your uncovered tooth so you don't damage or irritate it).

c) Keep your tooth and restoration clean.

During those times when your crown is out, you should clean the adhesive off of it, and your tooth too. Using your toothbrush (and maybe a Q-tip® inside your crown too) should work well enough.

A potential problem that you'll need to watch out for is the case where residual adhesive inside your restoration is allowed to dry out. If it does, it may keep you from being able to reseat it on your tooth properly.

An easy way to avoid this problem is to simply keep your crown or bridge wet at all times. So if it's not in your mouth, place it in a capped bottle with some water or else in a baggie wrapped in a very wet paper towel.

d) Keep in mind that the weight of a dental bridge may make it hard to keep in place.

Dental bridges involve multiple teeth and therefore, when compared to crowns, usually weigh more. This additional weight factor can make them more difficult to keep in place.

You'll simply need to keep this in mind and take precautions accordingly. The same issue can apply to very large metal crowns.


Why should you go to the trouble of wearing a crown or bridge that has come off?

By wearing loose dental work as much as possible, you can:

  • Return your appearance back to normal. (A great luxury in the case that the restoration that's fallen out is off a front tooth).
  • Reduce your tooth's sensitivity to hot, cold or air stimuli, if you have noticed that problem.
  • Help to minimize the potential for tooth shifting (either the crown's stub tooth, or its neighboring or opposing teeth).

! Not wearing a restoration that has come off can be a giant mistake.

The last point in our list above is probably the most important one. When teeth aren't in contact with other teeth (like when your crown or bridge is out), they tend to shift.

  • The goal of wearing your loose restoration is to prevent tooth movement. If none occurs, recementing the item can be amazingly quick and simple.
  • In the case where your teeth have only shifted just the tiniest amount, your dentist may be able to restore the fit of your restoration by trimming on it or the affected teeth. If so, it can then be successfully cemented back into place.
  • If a significant amount of tooth movement has occurred, the fit of the restoration may be so altered that it can't be fixed and therefore can't be recemented.

    If so, what would have been a relatively minor expense to you will now involve crown or bridge replacement costs. That's quite a difference.

How often do you need to wear your lost restoration to keep your teeth from shifting?

This isn't really that easy of a question to answer because people and situations vary.

  • You may be able to get buy with wearing your crown just a few hours a day.
  • In other cases, you may need to wear it for as much of your waking day as possible.

The test is easy enough.

  • If your crown slips back into place and everything feels right and normal, then what you're doing is working out.
  • But if you slip it in and it seems wedged or your bite seems off, your teeth have started to shift.

If only the tiniest amount of tooth shifting has occurred, wearing your restoration may be able to guide them back into place (just like orthodontic treatment moves teeth). If that works you're lucky. And take the hint that you need to be wearing your crown or bridge more often than before.


Other temporary "cements" you can use to recement crowns that have fallen out.

Our instructions on this page outline the use of denture adhesive (like that that comes in a tube) to recement lost dental work. Overall, this makes a convenient product to use, typically has quite a bit of tackiness to it and generally tends to work well.

There are other compounds you can use too, some of which you may already have around the house.

  • Denture adhesive in powder form is one.
  • Vaseline or toothpaste can also serve as (less effective) substitutes.
  • Some crowns or bridges may stay in place surprisingly well without the use of any type of temporary cement at all.

Over-the-counter cements for restorations that have come off.

We like the idea of using denture adhesive as glue for lost crowns and bridges. (It's usually strong enough to add substantial stability to a person's situation. Yet weak enough that using it is always easily reversible.)

There are however, other, usually stronger, types of OTC cements available. You'll need to use your own judgment about using one.

Points to consider before using OTC dental cements.
  • While the strength of these cements is no doubt greater than denture adhesive, they are typically hard-set products. That means if you don't get things right the first time, or if you have to repeat the procedure later on, getting yourself back to square one is more of a challenge.
  • We understand the inconvenience of using a weak adhesive but do you really want to use a (moderately) stronger one?

    Using denture adhesive means you can take your crown out at times when there's a risk that it will fall out. In comparison, do you really want to go to sleep wearing a restoration that's held in place with a temporary cement that may or may not hold overnight?

    Along these same lines, your crown is worth many many hundreds of dollars. If the temporary cement you've used turns out to be stronger than expected, you'll run a risk of it being damaged or broken when your dentist tries to get it off.

  • Many OTC products are ZOE (zinc oxide and eugenol) cements (check their ingredients list to find out). The eugenol component may interfere with the set of the type of permanent cement that your dentist uses. (Christensen 2008) [page references]

    Choosing a non-eugenol product probably makes the best choice. Also, take whatever product you have purchased when you go to your dentist's office so they can see what you've used.

  • Never consider using super glue. This makes the absolute worst choice possible, period.

How much does it cost to permanently recement a loose dental crown?

Here's an estimate of the fee a dentist might charge to recement a dental crown or bridge that has fallen out.

  • Recementation of a dental crown ("permanent" cement).

        $85.00 - $135.00

  • Recementation of a dental bridge ("permanent" cement).

        $95.00 - $175.00
        Low fee = Small rural city or town.
        High fee = Large metropolitan area.

  • (How did we come up with this estimate?)

Note: Some dentists may not charge for recementing a restoration if they were the dentist that placed it originally.

 

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