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The first step after noticing a loose dental crown is to make an appointment with your dentist.
Dental crowns can become loose for various reasons and without warning. Only your dentist can permanently fix a loose crown. However, you can take steps to manage your crown while you wait for your dental appointment.
Yes, a dentist can repair most loose dental crowns relatively quickly.
Before the repair, your dentist will examine the underlying tooth to ensure it isn’t severely damaged. If the crown fits well, but the dental cement fails, they will simply re-cement the crown onto your tooth.
If a cavity is under the crown, your dentist will remove the cavity first. Then, they will replace the crown.
According to Dr. Nandita Lilly, NewMouth’s in-house resident dentist, “The solution to a loose crown varies depending on the patient’s unique situation. For example, a crown might only be loose due to cement failure and it can be recemented, however, if the underlying tooth structure is damaged a new crown is indicated.”
Waiting too long to restore a loose crown can result in the crown falling out. If the crown fits well, and there’s no decay in the underlying tooth, you may be able to have it recemented. However, you'll need a new crown if the dental crown is damaged beyond repair.
A loose crown is serious and should never go untreated. It may be a dental emergency if it:
If the crown is slightly loose, set up an appointment with your dentist within the next few days.
While you can’t permanently fix a loose crown yourself, you can take certain precautions before your appointment to ensure it doesn’t fall out:
If your crown is very loose, apply an over-the-counter (OTC) dental cement as a temporary solution before your appointment.
To apply the cement:
Do not use super glue to cement the crown, as this can permanently damage the tooth, gums, and crown.
If your loose crown has not fallen out, refrain from touching it. Wiggling the crown can damage the underlying tooth structure.
Sticky foods like gum, candy, beef jerky, chewy bread, and similar foods can loosen or pull off crowns. Crunchy foods, like raw vegetables, chips, apples, and crackers, can also be problematic.
Stop eating crunchy and sticky foods until your dentist has recemented or replaced the crown. Additionally, make an effort to chew all food on the opposite side of the mouth.
If your crown is causing pain, you can take OTC pain medications to relieve discomfort. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are two common options. Take medications as directed by your dentist.
You can also apply a numbing agent to the affected area. Orajel™ Severe Toothache & Gum Relief Plus Triple Medicated Gel is the most commonly used ointment for oral pain.
If your crown falls out before your appointment, make sure you keep it (unless it is broken). Your dentist can likely recement the existing crown if it still fits well and there is no decay underneath.
A dental crown should never wiggle or feel insecure. If you can move your crown with your tongue, you have a loose crown.
Other common symptoms of a loose crown include:
It’s not normal for your crown to hurt or be mobile. Contact your dentist immediately upon noticing any of these symptoms.
While dental crowns can last for a long time when taken care of, it’s possible for certain factors to loosen or wear them down. Here are some reasons why your crown may be loose:
Crowns can last between 5 and 15 years (or even up to 30 years with excellent dental care, depending on the material of the crown). As they reach the end of their lifespan, the crown or the cement used may begin to break down.
Breaking down with age is normal and requires a dental evaluation. Your dentist will examine the crown and underlying tooth structure. If either is damaged, you may need a new crown.
Bruxism, which refers to the habit of clenching and grinding the teeth while awake or sleeping, can loosen or damage dental restorations.
If you grind your teeth heavily, it’s possible for your crown to loosen over time.
If your loose crown has sensitivity and pain, a cavity may have formed underneath the crown.
Food particles and oral bacteria can accumulate under the crown or on the tooth's root surface if you have poor oral hygiene. Tooth decay can make your crown loose over time.
Visit your dentist as soon as possible to treat the cavity and loose crown.
Some crowns may be in good shape but were fitted incorrectly, making them more likely to loosen over time.
Crowns can also loosen while the dental cement is setting. If this is the cause, you’ll notice the loose crown within a few days after placement.
Trauma, accidents, and facial injuries can result in loose dental restorations, including crowns. You’ll typically notice a change in your crown shortly after your injury.
Sticky foods like gum, caramel, candy, beef jerky, chewy bread, and similar foods can cause loose crowns.
Refrain from eating these foods in excess if you have a dental crown. Abstain from them entirely if you have a loose crown.
No, it’s not normal for a crown to feel loose. Permanent dental crowns should not wiggle or feel mobile; they should be firmly bonded to your teeth.
Healthy adult teeth move slightly if you pull on them, but they will not feel loose. Crowns should feel the same way.
Make a dental appointment immediately. In the meantime, you can apply temporary dental cement, take OTC pain relievers, and avoid crunchy or sticky foods.
A loose crown doesn’t always cause pain, but it can hurt. If you experience any pain in your crown, contact your dentist immediately.
Signs that your dental crown may be infected include tooth sensitivity, pain, swelling, or tenderness in the area, or a discharge of fluid or pus.
No, a loose crown can’t tighten back up on its own. You must see a dentist to have it repaired.
You may have a loose crown if you can move it with your tongue, food gets stuck under it, you notice pain or sensitivity, or you see damage to the crown.
Loose crowns can happen due to old age, poor fit, trauma, tooth grinding, or tooth decay. It’s never normal for your crown to be loose, and you should contact a dentist immediately.
While you wait for your dental appointment, you can apply temporary cement to the crown, take OTC pain medications, and avoid sticky or crunchy foods.
To ensure your crown stays in good health, practice optimal oral care at home and get professional check-ups and teeth cleanings every 6 months.
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