What to do if a loose crown or bridge falls out. -

How to temporarily recement the restoration. / Why it's important to wear it. / Precautions to take. / Costs for permanently recementing crowns and bridges.

Situations that these instructions apply to.

This page provides directions for a temporary solution for uncomplicated cases where a dental crown ('cap') has come loose from its tooth and subsequently fallen out. (The restoration has come "unglued.")

This same technique can be applied to lost bridges. It can also be used if you have a temporary crown or bridge come off.

Other details that may be of interest.

This page also provides estimates for how much it will cost to have your crown or bridge permanently recemented. Or, if you've lost your restoration totally, replacement prices can be found here: Crowns, Bridges

[ Related page - What to do if you swallow your crown. ]

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

The plan.

This technique uses denture adhesive as glue to temporarily recement a crown or bridge that has come off.

On its own, this adhesive is not really strong enough to tightly anchor a loose restoration. But it can add enough stability that makes wearing it possible, at least for some events or activities, whereas without it doing so could be quite troublesome.

[We explain below why wearing a restoration that's fallen out can be very important.]

Precautions about wearing loose dental work.

When wearing a restoration that's been temporarily "cemented" using this technique, you need to be aware of the concerns and precautions we list below.

And, of course, as soon as arrangements can be made the item needs to be permanently recemented by a dentist.

The steps:

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

Recementing a loose dental crown.

The loose crown won't fully seat if it contains debris.

As a first step, check your tooth and the interior of your crown for loose debris (food, fragments of dental cement). These kinds of objects should be easy to brush or rinse away.

They must be removed because they will prevent the crown from seating properly on your tooth (see illustration).

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 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.)

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 seated properly.

Other temporary "cements" you can use.

Using denture adhesive paste (like out of a tube) is a convenient product to use. And it typically has quite a bit of stickiness to it, so it tends to work well. But there are other items you can use too, some of which you may already have around the house.

Denture adhesive powder 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.

d) Be in contact with your dentist.

You absolutely must contact your dentist's office to let them know that your crown has fallen out. The fix we describe here is only a temporary one (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).

When you make contact with them, let them know that you're following these instructions. And, of course, make arrangements for them to recement your crown permanently.

Why should you wear a crown or bridge that has come off?

By wearing a loose dental restoration as much as possible, you can:

  • Return your appearance back to normal. (A great luxury in the case that it's a front tooth's restoration has fallen out).
  • Help to minimize the tooth's sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages or air (like breathing through your mouth).
  • Help to minimize the potential for tooth shifting. (Either the crown's stub, or neighboring or opposing teeth.)

Not wearing a loose restoration can be a giant mistake.

This last point in our list is a really important issue. 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 cases where the teeth involved shift just a little, the fit of the restoration can often be restored (by trimming it or the teeth). If so, it can be cemented back into place.
  • If a large 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 will now involve crown or bridge replacement costs. That's quite a difference.

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 - $125.00

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

        $95.00 - $155.00
        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.

Wearing loose crowns: Concerns and cautions.

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 the restoration that fell out is placed back over its tooth, it's not seated properly and should not be worn if that condition can not be resolved.

Wearing a crown that is "too high" can result in (possibly significant) damage to the crowned tooth or its neighboring teeth.

b) There are times when your loose crown should be removed.

With just denture adhesive used as "cement," you have to expect that your crown may come off relatively easily. This means that you must use good judgment and take precautions accordingly. As examples:

  • For fear of swallowing the crown if it does fall off, it makes sense to remove it when 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) Wear your crown as much as you safely can.

You should try to wear your loose crown as much as you feel you can, keeping in mind the types of limitations and precautions we've described 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 takes place, your dentist may not be able to recement your restoration and instead will have to make you a new one.

d) The weight of a dental bridge can make it hard to keep in place.

Dental bridges involve multiple teeth and because of this they can be quite heavy. This weight factor can make denture-adhesive recementation less effective, especially for upper bridges.

This point should be kept in mind and when a loose bridge, or possibly even a heavy gold crown, is worn precautions should be taken accordingly.


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