What to Do When a Dental Crown Falls Out? | A Comprehensive Guide to Handling the Situation

A dental crown falling out is not just inconvenient; it can be a cause for concern if not addressed promptly and correctly. Whether it happens unexpectedly during a meal or due to underlying dental issues, knowing how to react calmly and effectively can make a significant difference in protecting your oral health and ensuring a swift resolution. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about what to do when a dental crown falls out.

Understanding Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are prosthetic caps placed over damaged or weakened teeth to restore their strength, function, and appearance. They are commonly used to cover teeth that have undergone root canal treatment, are severely decayed, or are structurally compromised. Crowns are typically cemented onto the prepared tooth structure, providing a durable and natural-looking solution.

Why Do Dental Crowns Fall Out?

Several factors can contribute to a dental crown becoming loose or falling out entirely:

  • Decay: If there is decay underneath the crown, it can compromise the integrity of the cement or bonding material, causing the crown to become loose.
  • Trauma: Biting down on something hard or experiencing a blow to the face can dislodge a crown.
  • Poor Fit: A poorly fitting crown may not adhere properly to the tooth, making it more prone to falling out.
  • Old Age: Over time, the cement holding the crown in place can wear down, leading to its loosening or detachment.
  • Chewing Habits: Habitually chewing on hard objects or using teeth for purposes other than eating (such as opening packages) can weaken the bond between the crown and the tooth.

Steps to Take When a Dental Crown Falls Out

Don’t Panic, Assess the Situation:

If your dental crown falls out, the first step is to stay calm and assess the situation. Retrieve the crown if possible and examine it closely.

Check for any signs of damage to the crown itself, such as chips or fractures. This information will be helpful for your dentist in determining the best course of action.

If the crown appears intact and undamaged, it may be possible to re-cement it temporarily until you can see your dentist.

Clean the Crown and Your Mouth:

Gently clean the inside of the crown with water to remove any debris or old cement. Be careful not to damage the delicate inner surface of the crown.

Clean your mouth as well, paying attention to the area where the crown used to be. Use a soft toothbrush to brush around the exposed tooth and gums, ensuring that no food particles or bacteria remain.

Assess for Pain or Sensitivity:

If the tooth underneath the crown is sensitive or painful, avoid chewing on that side and stick to softer foods that are less likely to irritate the exposed area.

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help manage discomfort until you are able to see your dentist.

Contact Your Dentist Immediately:

As soon as you notice that your dental crown has fallen out, contact your dentist’s office to schedule an appointment. Explain the situation clearly, as they may need to prioritize your case if you are experiencing pain or discomfort.

Many dental offices set aside time each day for emergencies, so calling promptly increases your chances of getting prompt treatment.

Temporary Solutions:

While waiting to see your dentist, there are a few temporary solutions you can try to protect the exposed tooth:

  • Dental Cement: Pharmacies often sell temporary dental cement that can be used to re-cement the crown temporarily until you can see your dentist.
  • Petroleum Jelly: Applying a small amount of petroleum jelly inside the crown can provide a temporary cushion and help hold it in place.

Avoid DIY Permanent Fixes:

It may be tempting to try to re-cement the crown using household adhesives such as super glue. However, these are not designed for oral use and can damage your tooth or gums, complicating the re-cementing process for your dentist.

Stick to temporary solutions recommended by your dentist or available over-the-counter until you can receive professional care.

Keep the Crown Safe:

Store your crown in a safe place, preferably in a container or plastic bag, until your dental appointment. This prevents it from getting lost or damaged further.

Avoid handling the crown unnecessarily to minimize the risk of contamination.

Understand the Cause:

During your dental appointment, your dentist will examine the crown and the underlying tooth to determine the cause of the crown falling out.

This could involve assessing for decay, checking the fit of the crown, or evaluating any structural issues with the underlying tooth.

Understanding the cause of the crown falling out helps your dentist recommend appropriate treatment to prevent future incidents.

Discuss Long-Term Solutions:

Depending on the condition of the crown and the underlying tooth, your dentist will discuss long-term solutions during your appointment.

This may involve replacing the crown if it is damaged or worn, addressing any decay or structural issues with the tooth, or considering alternative treatments if necessary.

Regular Dental Check-Ups:

Regular dental check-ups are essential for maintaining oral health and catching potential issues before they become emergencies.

Your dentist can monitor the condition of your dental crown and underlying tooth during routine visits, ensuring early intervention if problems arise.


Experiencing a dental crown falling out can be unsettling, but knowing how to respond calmly and effectively can help protect your oral health and ensure a swift resolution. By following these steps – from staying calm and contacting a professional dentist such as the one at NYC Dental Lounge promptly to using temporary solutions and discussing long-term care – you can minimize discomfort and prevent further complications. Remember, your dentist is your partner in maintaining a healthy smile, so don’t hesitate to seek professional care when needed. Taking proactive steps now can help ensure that your dental crown continues to serve you well for years to come.