Has a crown on your tooth become loose? There’s a dental visit in your near future, unfortunately.
Dental crowns, like fillings and other restorative dental work, don’t last forever. In fact, the average lifespan of a dental crown is between five and 15 years. And if it becomes loose, it may need to be replaced sooner than that.
There are several reasons why your crown may be coming off your tooth. Here are the top causes of a loose dental crown, and what you should do about it.
If you’re among the 10% of people that suffer from bruxism, you’re grinding your teeth in your sleep without even knowing it. The grinding motion can damage your natural teeth and also cause you to inadvertently put enough pressure on a dental crown so that it loosens or falls off a tooth.
Teeth grinding can lead to dental problems as well as jaw pain and headaches. Your dentist will fit you with a nightguard to wear when you go to bed to prevent future damage from taking place.
The good news is that a dental crown itself cannot develop a cavity. The bad news is natural tooth structure underneath the crown is still susceptible to decay.
In fact, a poor-fitting crown and tooth decay often go hand-in-hand. When a crown becomes loose, it’s easier for bacteria from food to get underneath the crown and form a cavity. Conversely, a cavity can loosen a crown because it changes the tooth’s structure which can cause a crown to fall off.
Sometimes decay develops at the base of the crown near the gumline. Untreated decay can progress to the tooth’s pulp where it can infect the nerves and blood supply that reside there, causing a toothache and dental abscess.
This is why if you develop a poorly fitting or loose crown you don’t want to delay in seeing a dentist right away. It’s best to have tooth decay treated in its earliest stages before it can progress to the point where it causes you pain and misery.
Eating Sticky Foods
If you have a sweet—and a sticky—tooth, your taste for chewy treats can actually pull a crown off a tooth. This can lead to tooth decay, as a tooth formerly protected by a crown has no enamel. The tooth’s dentin, which is a softer layer inside a tooth, is now exposed to cavity-causing bacteria.
Toffee, candy, and chewing gum can all loosen a dental crown. You don’t have to give up your favorite sticky foods if you have a crown, but it’s a good idea to chew them on the opposite side of your mouth and consume them in moderation. And always brush and floss your teeth regularly to prevent cavities.
Taking a blow to the mouth—whether it’s from a fall or getting hit in the mouth—can dislodge a crown. If you regularly play a sport, wear a mouthguard as an added barrier between your teeth and any flying projectiles. If you received an injury to the mouth area, visit a dentist to make sure there’s no damage that needs treatment right away.
Using Your Teeth As a Tool
As tempting as it may be to use your teeth to cut something when scissors aren’t available, the truth is teeth weren’t meant to be used as tools. Resist the urge to use them to bite down on anything that isn’t food. Not only can this habit loosen a crown, but it can cause chips and cracks in teeth and damage other dental work such as fillings.
Eating Hard Foods
Biting down on extremely hard foods such as ice cubes, peanut brittle, and hard candy can have the same disastrous results. These foods can be dangerous to healthy, natural teeth as well as any that have dental crowns or other restorative dental work. Avoid consuming them if you can.
What To Do About a Loose Dental Crown
If you do have a loose dental crown, try not to fiddle with it using your tongue or fingers, or you can loosen it more or cause it to come off your tooth completely. Make an appointment to promptly see a dentist so they can check for any underlying problems that need to be treated before the crown is placed back on. To be on the safe side, chew food on the other side of your mouth in the meantime and take ibuprofen for any pain or discomfort.
If a dental crown has fallen off your tooth, ask your dentist if it’s OK to use a dental cement product to keep the crown in place until your appointment. Just remember that these products are not a permanent fix.
Why is it so important to see a dentist right away about a loose crown? Because without a crown, your tooth is now extremely weak. If it received a root canal as well, that means it’s also brittle as it’s missing inner structure as well as the outer enamel layer.
A tooth without a crown can chip or break or develop a cavity quite easily. If you delay in receiving treatment you could eventually lose the tooth and need to have it replaced with a dental implant.
Boisedentist.com explains further what you should do about a loose dental crown and what you can expect at the dentist.
Know the Causes of a Loose Dental Crown
In addition to caring for your teeth, you can prevent a loose dental crown by visiting your dentist regularly for a check-up and cleaning. A dentist examines all existing dental work to make sure it’s still doing its job.
For additional tips on keeping your smile as well as your body healthy, check out our Health archive.