So you are having lunch on a Sunday afternoon, bite into sandwich and end up with a missing crown. We see issue quite often and this can be a bit of a shock to many patients. So if you are stuck in this situation, without immediate access to a dentist, there are a number of things which can be done.
What can I do in the short term?
The first thing to do is to get the crown out of your mouth if it is very loose. The last thing you would like to happen is for the crown to fully dislodge and end up being swallowed or ending up as a choking hazard. While a crown which is swallowed will end up passing through the digestive tract with little concern, they are regarded as lost and cannot be recemented.
If possible, call your dentist immediately to arrange an appointment. Sometimes this may not be possible to see a dentist immediately, so in these cases it is best to keep your tooth clean, store your crown safely and organise an appointment as soon as possible. Typically a day or so wait will not cause any harm.
Keep your tooth as clean as you can by brushing it carefully with a soft brush and ensuring food and plaque does not sit around it. If your crown has come out with a post it is important to ensure food debris doesn’t fall into the center of the tooth. Some patients may experience some sensitivity to hot and cold, so these sorts of foods or drinks should be avoided if they trigger any pain.
To store your crown, brush it with a toothbrush and soak it in some miltons for 1-2 minutes. After some careful rinsing (be careful not to let it fall down the sink) store it in a small container or ziplock back to bring to your dentist.
Should I recement my own crown?
If it will be more than a couple of days until you are able to see a dentist or if you are concerned about having a visible tooth missing, it may be an option to temporary recement your crown as a emergency measure.
While it may be tempting, do not use super glue, krazy glue or any other sort of glues laying around the house. Not only can these cause damage to your tooth and ruin your crown, some of these glues contains cyanoacrylate which is poisonous if ingested. Dentists use dental cements and not glues to recement crowns. They are specifically designed to bond to tooth structure and seal out bacteria at the margins of your tooth to prevent further tooth decay.
Temporary dental cement is conveniently purchased at pharmacies and can be stored in the home for such dental emergencies. A number of brands exist but Dentafix appears to be one which is commonly found in Australia.