A dental crown is a ceramic cap shaped like a tooth that is placed over a weak or damaged tooth to restore the tooth’s functionality and appearance. It can be attached either to an abutment that is built up in the damaged tooth or onto a titanium post in the case of a dental implant. Crowns can also be used to attach bridges or protect a weak tooth from breaking. Your dentist assess the situation and will discuss option with you if you need a crown.
A crown on an existing tooth is typically bonded to the tooth using a dental cement. This is typically the source of failure when a crown comes off. More often than not the cement will be compromised over time by mechanical action (chewing) and moisture intrusion. A void can also occur due to additional tooth decay after the crown is placed. Once this happens there are any number of events that can cause a permanent crown to come off of the tooth.
Typical scenarios include:
- “My crown came off while flossing” – Many people have lost crowns while flossing because the gap created by the degraded cement will make a void that the floss will catch on and the normal forces involved in flossing can pop the crown off the tooth.
- “My crown came off after root canal” – A root canal usually precede a crown so it can often be related to a crown falling out. If the fit was not correct or there was a problem with the cement then the crown may come off. This scenario may also have some discomfort associated with it. If your crown came off and your tooth hurts or smells bad, there is an issue associated with your root canal. Whatever the situation may be this will require the attention of your dentist and you should contact them immediately.
- “My crown came off while eating” – This is probably the most commonly reported situation where a crown comes off. Sometimes it’s a very sticky food, or a crunchy food or even ice. The unfortunate corollary to this particular scenario is that sometimes the crown can be “temporarily lost” if you catch my drift. Yes that’s right, sometimes people swallow their crown after it comes off. While it can be problematic in the short term, the crown will eventually reemerge. You will then be confronted with the decision of whether or not you want to reattach the crown after it has traveled through your digestive tract. While the journey will not damage the crown it does create some mental challenges. Most people will elect to replace the crown but you can make that decision for yourself.