What to Do if Your Temporary Crown Falls Out

erica medical reviewer
Medically Reviewed
by Dr. Erica Anand
Ellie Swain
Written by
Ellie Swain
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Evidence Based
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6 sources cited
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What is a Temporary Crown?

A temporary crown is a tooth-shaped cap. It protects a natural tooth or implant until a permanent crown is made and cemented into place. 

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Permanent crowns take a few weeks to create to your specifications, which is why temporary crowns are used. Some dental offices have the equipment and technology to create a crown in one day. However, it usually takes at least a week or two to make a permanent crown.

Temporary crowns are more delicate and fragile than permanent ones. It is essential to be careful when flossing or chewing while you have a temporary crown. 

A temporary crown is used to:

  • Protect the natural tooth or implant and gums
  • Maintain the proper spacing between your teeth
  • Help you chew and eat
  • Help the dentist determine how the crown will function

A temporary crown may cover an implant or a tooth with a root canal. It may also cover a tooth that has been repaired. The crown may be used for any single tooth. It can also work as a bridge over more than one implant or tooth.

You will keep the temporary crown for two to three weeks or longer. How long you wear the temporary crown depends on the extent of the dental work required. Implants may require a few weeks to several months for the bone to heal before a permanent crown can be fitted over them.

The shape and shade of your temporary crown may not match your adjacent teeth perfectly because it is intended to only fit in place for a few weeks. Your dentist may use computer imaging technology to choose a shape for the permanent crown that will fit your mouth perfectly. Or, the dentist may produce an impression of your existing teeth to help create the permanent crown.

Your dentist will carefully match the color of your permanent crown to that of your natural teeth. 

Also, the shade may not be as well matched to your other teeth because the materials typically used for a temporary crown are not custom.

How Can Temporary Crowns Become Loose?

Temporary crowns can become loose for various reasons. These reasons include:

  • Traumatic injuries 
  • The age and condition of the crown
  • Tooth decay
  • Lack of dental care
  • Eating sticky foods

Temporary crowns can also become loose if your dentist makes a mistake during the crown preparation or installation. If you grind or clench your teeth, your crown is also more likely to become loose.

If the underlying tooth structure adjusts so that the crown does not fit as it was supposed to, this can also loosen your dental crown. If the underlying tooth structure changes, this is usually due to a lack of dental care or bone loss.

What to Do if Your Temporary Crown Falls Out

If your temporary crown falls out, it is best to call your dentist for an appointment to recement it. If your temporary crown is lost, you should arrange an appointment with your dentist for a new crown.

It is essential not to leave the space in your mouth empty. Otherwise, the tooth or gum underneath the crown may become damaged or infected. 

Also, leaving a space may throw your bite off. This could cause issues for the permanent crown.

What Not to Do if Your Crown Falls Out

Temporary crowns are typically installed with temporary dental cement. That means you must be extra careful with your temporary crown. 

If your crown falls out, you must not swallow it. If the crown falls out of your mouth, make sure you find it and keep hold of it.

Other essential steps to take when your crown has fallen out include:

  • Avoid foods that are sticky, hard, or require a lot of chewing
  • Avoid chewing foods on the affected side of the mouth
  • Be gentle when brushing your teeth with toothpaste

Is it a Dental Emergency?

Usually, losing your temporary crown is not a dental emergency. The only time losing a temporary crown would be a dental emergency would be if the jagged edges of your tooth are sharp. You may require emergency dental care in these circumstances, so you do not cut your tongue or cheeks by accident.

However, you still need to arrange an appointment to have your crown replaced.

How to Prevent a Temporary Crown From Falling Out

Temporary crowns need to be easy to remove so they can be replaced with a permanent crown. While you have the temporary crown fitted, you need to take extra care of it, so you do not increase the chances of it falling out.

A temporary crown is glued in with temporary dental cement. It should be completely functional, so you can chew normally. However, the glue is not meant to fit the tooth in permanently.

You should avoid chewing gum or eating sticky foods that could loosen your temporary crown. It is essential to maintain proper dental care as well. 

You should also avoid sugary foods. Your temporary crown may have a small gap between the crown and gum line. This means that sugar can reach under the crown and cause decay.

Here are some foods to avoid while you have a temporary crown fitted:

  • Steak or tough meat
  • Crusty or hard bread or bagels
  • Crunchy or hard fresh vegetables, such as baby carrots
  • Crunchy or hard fresh fruits, such as apples
  • Corn on the cob
  • Chewing gum
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Hard candy or sweets
  • Caramel
  • Ice

You should also avoid very hot or very cold foods. These foods may affect how well the dental cement keeps the temporary crown in place.

Brush gently around the tooth and gum line twice daily using toothpaste. 

Practicing proper dental hygiene will help prevent decay and infection around the crown. You may also decide to use sensitivity toothpaste. 

Flossing is also recommended. However, you will need to thread the floss at the gum line without dragging it too hard to avoid dislodging the temporary crown. 

Try sliding the floss gently and out of the gaps between the teeth instead of pulling it down.

Resources

Astudillo-Rubio, Daniela et al. “Mechanical properties of provisional dental materials: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” PloS one vol. 13,2 e0193162. 28 Feb. 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5830998/ 

Karaokutan, Isil et al. “In vitro study of fracture strength of provisional crown materials.” The journal of advanced prosthodontics vol. 7,1 (2015), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4341183/ 

Wassell, R W et al. “Crowns and other extra-coronal restorations: provisional restorations.” British dental journal vol. 192,11 (2002): 619-22, 625-30, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12108942/ 

Dental crowns, MedlinePlus, February 2021, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007631.htm 

Gough, M. “A review of temporary crowns and bridges.” Dental update vol. 21,5 (1994): 203-7, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7875350/ 

Kopp, R S. “Temporary crown technique. A case report.” The New York state dental journal vol. 33,5 (1967): 285-6, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/5229108/

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