When you get a filling to plug the gap left by a cavity, or a crown to cover the remains of a damaged or decayed tooth, you can reasonably expect this dental fixture to be permanent. However, you should keep in mind that people are pretty hard on their teeth, which is why it’s not entirely uncommon for fillings and crowns to crack, break, and fall out under a variety of circumstances.

Say you get hit in the mouth while playing sports or during the course of an accident. The trauma can certainly cause a crown or filling to pop out. Perhaps you like to chew hard candy, ice cubes, nuts, or pen caps. Maybe you suffer from the clenching and grinding of bruxism. Even normal wear and tear can eventually compromise your caps.

So, your filling or crown fell out. What now?

SAVE YOUR HARDWARE

The first thing to do is try to avoid biting or swallowing your wayward filling or crown. Biting down on this hard object could harm other teeth, and while swallowing it isn’t likely to cause any harm, it’s best avoided if possible. Spit out the filling or crown and save it to give to your dentist. In some cases, a fixture that is intact can simply be reinserted at less cost and hassle to you.

CALL THE DENTIST

Once you’ve secured your filling or crown, the next thing you want to do is contact your dentist. In most cases, this is not an emergency situation, so wait until your dental office is open to call and schedule an appointment. Just don’t wait too long. An exposed tooth could be subject to damage if left untreated, and it can be pretty uncomfortable, to boot.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

Whether it’s a few hours or a few days before you’re able to see your dentist, you need to protect your exposed tooth to avoid potential pain, as well as decay or other damage. After gently cleaning the tooth, you can coat the exposed surface with a bit of dental cement or wax for temporary protection, or you may even be able to reposition an unbroken filling or crown with dental cement.

Your dentist will certainly want to replace the filling or crown, but you may have additional treatment options depending on the cause of this snafu. If, for example, you suffer from bruxism, a night guard may be in order, along with a plan for stress reduction. You don’t need to panic when you lose a filling or crown – your dentist can easily rectify the problem and help you prevent future losses.

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