Updated: Jul 12
If your crown falls off and it is not damaged, there is a possibility to simply reattach it by gluing back on your tooth. That of course depends on the condition of your tooth underneath the crown and what caused it to come off in the first place.
The best course of action is to contact your dentist because they will be able to correctly assess the problem and give you a permanent solution for your fallen off crown. However if you're not able to see your dentist, there are a couple of home remedies that can provide a temporary fix.
Table of Contents:
What you can do at home for a dental crown that fell off
The first thing you should do is inspect the fallen off tooth cap to see if it is damaged. If it appears undamaged to the best of your ability, you may be able to glue it back in temporarily at home with a temporary tooth kit.
Brush and floss. Clean your mouth as best as you can so that there is no food in your way preventing you from doing the next steps.
Rinse. Gently rinse off the crown with cool water so that there is no food or debris.
Try it in. Attempt to place it back on your tooth, you may have to rotate it a few times in order to get the correct orientation for it to seat back in. If it fits proceed to next step.
Purchase temporary kit. Go to your local pharmacy and buy some temporary lost filling & loose cap repair cement.
Recement or reglue your dental crown back on with temporary cement
Apply glue. Place a thin layer of the glue into your crown but don't put too much. If you place too much the crown may not fit back on due to excess glue preventing it from seating down. In this case, less is actually better.
Place crown on tooth. Take the cement filled crown and place it back on your tooth.
Bite down. You must bite down a couple of times gently to make sure that it is completely seated and glued in. This ensures that the bite is correct after gluing it in. If it doesn't feel right, you may need to take it off and try it back in again.
Floss. Use floss to get rid of excess glue in between the crown but don't pull the floss up. Pull the floss out through the side so you don't accidentally lift the crown up.
Wait for your dentist appointment. You should be okay in the meantime now, just don't chew any gum on that side! Your dentist will remove the temporary glue and add in a permanent one.
What if you are unable to re-glue the fallen off crown?
If for whatever reason you are unable to reattach it, place the cap in a ziplock bag and bring it to your dental appointment so that your dentist can cement it back in. If they're not able to, they will just have to make you a brand new crown.
Here are some common reasons why you may not be able to glue it in:
If the your crown that fell off was damaged, broken, or cracked, you may very well never be able to get it back on. If its broken it just won't fit, there isn't anything more to it. If that is the case you will definitely need to have a new one made by your dentist. You can't make your own crown at home.
Here is a picture of what a crown that broke in half looks like:
If your crown fell off an implant, you should NOT attempt to glue it back in. You can place it back in your mouth if it fits but do NOT use any temporary glue. The reason is because excess glue that is not cleaned off can cause implant failure where you end up having the entire implant removed and redone all over. The risk is too great for you to attempt it.
With that being said, there are two types of implant crowns:
Cement retained crown. The first type is an implant crown that can be glued in. However due to risk of possible implant failure, you should not attempt to do this at home. It is better to have your dentist do it for you.
Screw retained crown. The second type is an implant crown that is screwed in. This one does not require any glue and must be screwed back in by your dentist. If this is your implant crown, you can't do anything for it at home except wait for your dentist appointment.
Here is a picture of what a fallen off implant crown that is screw retained:
It is easy to tell which type of implant crown it is by looking at the bottom of it. If you see a screw like the photo above sticking out then it is the screw retained type and there is nothing that you can do about it. Just keep it in a zip lock bag and bring it to your dentist because these need to be screwed back in.
You messed up the temporary glue
If you happen to screw up while trying to glue it back in, it may not fit properly or it just doesn't fit anymore. The reason is because the temporary glue will harden after a certain amount of time and if you happen to take too long or do it incorrectly, it won't glue back in. The hardened temporary glue may need to be drilled off so only your dentist can do it for you.
How urgent is it to have the crown glued back in?
The condition of the tooth underneath will determine how urgent it is to have it cemented back in such as whether or not the tooth is alive.
Tooth without a root canal. If the crown that fell off did not have a root canal, it will be alive and extremely sensitive with the crown off. This is a very urgent situation and you should try to get it glued back in as soon as possible.
Tooth with a root canal. If your crown fell off of a tooth with a root canal then it will be less urgent. A tooth with a root canal is no longer alive and has no nerves so you will not feel any sensitivity nor pain at all.
How to tell if your tooth had a root canal
If you notice that your tooth is black after the crown has fallen off, that is an indication that it was a root canal tooth. Dead teeth usually become discolored over time.
Photo below is of a necrotic or dead tooth:
The appearance is a dead give away for it to be a dead tooth. Otherwise you can also tell if it had a root canal if you remember that tooth getting one in the past!
Why you should have it glued back in even if it doesn't hurt
Despite whether or not the tooth had a root canal, it is still good practice to try to glue it back in as soon as possible because the teeth might shift. If your teeth shift, you may not be able to glue it back in anymore because it won't fit. If that happens, you'll be forced to spend money on getting a brand new one.
That is basically everything you need to know about what to do with a fallen off crown.
Sometimes you may notice that it smells bad underneath the tooth cap that came off. If you do notice a smell, please rinse it out well and you can even soak it in Listerine mouthwash for a couple of minutes to kill the odor.
These scenarios are a lot more likely if your cap was a temporary crown because those were glued with a temporary cement so it is not as strong. Although once in a while, your permanent crown can come off as well. That is due to normal wear and tear and maybe sometimes the cement gets dissolved.
Last but not least, if your fallen off crown has cracked or has a crack in it, there would be nothing you can do. You can't reattach it so just bring it in with you to your appointment.
Author: Written by Dr David Chen a LIC dentist in NY.