By: Dr. Lahiru Chandraweera

December 12, 2023

Secure Your Smile by Managing a Loose Dental Crown Effectively

Managing a loose dental crown can be quite a dilemma for many individuals. The situation often leads to discomfort and worry, but understanding the intricacies of dental crown care can alleviate these concerns. Dental crowns play a crucial role in preserving the functionality and appearance of teeth, and their maintenance is essential for long-term oral health.

This blog will provide valuable insights on handling a loose dental crown, offering practical dental crown maintenance strategies and tips that cater to those who’ve experienced this dental problem.

Whether you have a loose crown or want to prevent this issue in the future, these insights will help you maintain a healthy smile.

Keep reading to know more about dental crown care and how to manage this situation with a proper balance of attentiveness and professional guidance.

Hills Family Dental Centre

Summary of the Content

  • Recognising a loose dental crown involves signs like unusual tooth sensitivity, pain while chewing, altered tooth alignment, a clicking sensation, signs of infection or decay, and a persistent bad taste.
  • A loose dental crown can result from wear and tear, dental decay, poor fit, impact or trauma, gum disease, teeth grinding, eating hard or sticky foods, and aging of dental materials.
  • Avoiding hard or sticky foods can reduce the risk of dislodging a crown.
  • Understanding the different types of crowns and their benefits aids in making informed decisions.
  • Emergency dental services are usually available to address urgent dental concerns swiftly.

Recognising the Symptoms of a Loose Dental Crown

Detecting a loose dental crown at an early stage is important for preventing complications and maintaining oral health. The following are common signs and symptoms that indicate a dental crown may be loose.

  • Unusual tooth sensitivity:
    Feeling tooth sensitivity, especially to hot or cold substances, may indicate a loose dental crown. A loose crown has open margins, which exposes the underlying tooth to the oral cavity, making it susceptible to temperature changes.
  • Pain or discomfort while chewing:
    Experiencing pain or discomfort when chewing foods, particularly sticky or crunchy foods, might indicate a loose dental crown. A loose crown can harbour food particles, leading to increased pressure on the tooth while biting or potential tooth decay.
  • Altered tooth alignment:
    If you notice a change in the tooth alignment, it could be a sign of a loose dental crown. Loose crowns can seat differently over the tooth when it moves, causing misalignment.
  • Clicking or tapping sensation:
    A clicking or tapping sensation in the affected area, particularly when eating, may be a sign that you have a loose crown that moves when you bite.
  • Presence of infection or decay:
    A loose crown harbours plaque, which can lead to tooth decay underneath the crown. If not observed or addressed immediately, this can lead to an infection.
  • Change in taste or persistent bad taste:
    The onset of an unusual taste or persistent bad taste in the mouth could signal a loose dental crown, possibly due to food particles trapped beneath the crown or tooth decay.

Common Causes Behind a Loose Dental Crown

A loose crown is an inconvenience and a sign that your dental crown might need attention. A dental crown might become loose for various reasons, and understanding these can aid in dental crown maintenance.

Below, we’ve outlined the primary causes behind a loose dental crown:

  • Wear and Tear:
    Over time, the constant pressure from biting and chewing can cause the material of the crown or the cement holding it in place to wear down.
  • Dental Decay:
    If decay develops at the margins of the crown or underneath it, it can compromise the fit and integrity of the crown, leading to loosening.
  • Poor Fit:
    If the crown was not fitted properly in the first place, it might not adhere well to the tooth, leading to instability and eventual loosening.
  • Impact or Trauma:
    A strong blow to the mouth, such as from a fall or a hit, can dislodge or damage a crown.
  • Gum Disease:
    Gum disease can cause the gums and bone supporting the teeth to recede, which may affect the stability of the crown.
  • Grinding or Clenching Teeth (Bruxism):
    This habit can exert excessive force on the crown, leading to its loosening over time.
  • Eating Hard or Sticky Foods:
    Biting into hard or sticky foods can displace or damage the crown.
  • Aging of Dental Materials:
    Over time, the materials used in the crown or the cement can break down or lose their effectiveness.

Regular dental check-ups and proper oral hygiene are crucial in maintaining the integrity of dental crowns and preventing them from becoming loose. If a crown does become loose, it’s important to see a dentist promptly to avoid further dental issues.

Immediate Actions to Take if Your Dental Crown is Loose

Finding that you have a loose dental crown can be alarming and uncomfortable. Whether you’re experiencing extreme pain or merely a sense of instability, taking prompt action can protect your tooth.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do if your dental crown becomes loose:

  1. Stay calm and assess the situation:
    Do not panic. Carefully determine the severity of the looseness of the crown and your symptoms. If there’s severe pain or discomfort, it might require immediate attention.
  2. Avoid chewing on that side:
    To prevent further loosening of the crown, avoid chewing on the side where the dental crown is loose.
  3. Clean the area gently:
    Oral hygiene is paramount. Clean the area around the loose dental crown to avoid plaque and food accumulation, especially in the crown margin area.
  4. Use temporary measures if needed:
    If there’s a delay in getting a dentist appointment, you may use store-bought temporary dental cement to secure the crown in place. If there’s pain, take over-the-counter pain relievers to provide short-term relief. Be sure to follow instructions carefully.
  5. Contact your dentist:
    If you are experiencing severe pain or other urgent symptoms, it is possible that you are having a dental emergency. As such, schedule an emergency appointment with your dentist. Dental professionals are able to provide proper care and treatment for loose dental crowns.
  6. Avoid certain foods:
    Avoid hard or sticky foods that could cause further damage to the loose dental crown or underlying tooth structure.
  7. Monitor for changes:
    It is important to monitor any changes, such as heightened tooth sensitivity or the fracturing of tooth structure. If the situation worsens, contact your dentist again.
  8. Follow your dentist’s advice post-appointment:
    Follow the dental crown care advice and maintenance tips given to you by your professional dentist. This may involve making temporary changes to your diet or adjusting your oral care routine.
  9. Maintain a regular dental care routine:
    Continue with your regular dental care, focusing on dental crown maintenance to promote the longevity of your teeth.

Temporary Management for a Loose Dental Crown

Handling a loose dental crown at home while waiting for professional dental care can be manageable. There are various strategies that can be used to maintain tooth integrity and reduce tooth sensitivity or discomfort.

  1. Dental cement:
    Some drugstores offer temporary cement. These over-the-counter dental cement can be applied on the inner surface of your crown to temporarily secure it in place. Follow the instructions on the packaging carefully.
  2. Avoid certain activities:
    Avoiding activities that might cause trauma can help. Be mindful of actions like opening bottles with teeth or engaging in high-contact sports.
  3. Mindful eating:
    Being cautious about what you eat is vital. Avoid foods that are hard or sticky. Do not use the tooth with a loose crown for chewing.
  4. Avoid extreme temperatures:
    Sudden temperature changes might induce severe tooth sensitivity, especially around the loose dental crown. Avoid very hot or cold food and beverages.
  5. Gentle cleaning:
    Brush your teeth as you would normally do to prevent plaque and food particles from getting underneath the crown. However, avoid flossing the tooth with the crown to prevent pulling it out.
  6. Custom mouthguard:
    If you grind your teeth at night and you have a custom mouthguard, wearing it can prevent the crown from further loosening.
  7. Use of mild pain relievers:
    If pain is associated with the loose dental crown, over-the-counter pain relievers taken according to instructions might alleviate discomfort.

These strategies are aimed at temporarily managing a loose dental crown for various reasons, including comfort and protection. While these measures are helpful, it’s crucial to understand that professional dental care is the most appropriate course of action.

Professional Advice for a Loose Dental Crown

While temporary measures might provide relief for a short time, seeking professional care from a licensed dentist is the key to addressing this dental problem.

Here’s what you need to know about the professional treatments available:

  1. Assessment and diagnosis:
    Once at the dentist’s office, a thorough examination will be conducted to understand the reason behind the loose dental crown. The examination will include a clinical assessment and x-ray.
  2. Cleaning and preparing the tooth:
    Your dentist will remove the loose crown and clean the area to remove plaque and food debris. This prepares the tooth for re-cementation.
  3. Re-cementing the crown:
    If the dental crown is still in good condition and the tooth is still intact, your dentist will use dental cement to reattach it.
  4. New crown fitting:
    A new dental crown might be necessary if the existing crown has extensive damage from trauma or wear or if the tooth is decayed and requires dental restoration or root canal treatment. Your dentist will perform the necessary treatment on the tooth and take an impression to be sent to the laboratory for the fabrication of the new crown.
  5. Root canal treatment:
    In cases when the cause of the loose crown is a severely decayed tooth, a root canal treatment may be warranted. A root canal treatment addresses dental infection and preserves the tooth integrity.
  6. Dental crown care instructions:
    Before leaving the dentist’s office, you’ll receive instructions to help maintain the newly replaced dental crown. Following these instructions can contribute to long-term durability and comfort.
  7. Ongoing follow-up and care:
    Regular dental visits for check-ups and cleanings are essential in dental crown maintenance. Your dentist will continue to monitor the crown and provide the necessary care tailored to your situation.

Tips to Keep Your Dental Crown Secure

Keeping a dental crown secure is fundamental for comfort and functionality. While preventing a loose dental crown might not always be possible, certain practices can reduce the risk.

Here is a list of proactive measures that may help in keeping your crown secure.

  1. Follow your dentist’s instructions:
    After having a crown fitted, pay close attention to the instructions provided by your licensed dentist. They have studied your case and can provide personalised advice.
  2. Avoid hard and sticky foods:
    Some foods can cause undue pressure or tension on the dental crown, causing trauma. Avoid hard candies, ice, and sticky foods that might cause undue stress on the crown.
  3. Maintain regular dental check-ups:
    Frequent visits to the dentist’s office for professional cleanings and examinations allow your dentist to monitor the condition of your crown and offer any needed advice.
  4. Use a night guard if necessary:
    If you grind your teeth at night, a night guard might help protect your dental crown from unnecessary wear and potential loosening.
  5. Practise good oral hygiene:
    Brushing and flossing around the dental crown are essential. A soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste can keep the crown clean without causing any harm.
  6. Be mindful while chewing:
    When consuming hard or crispy food, it is advised to avoid using the teeth with dental crowns to prevent them from becoming loose. In addition, refrain from chewing on hard objects such as pencils or fingernails.
  7. Consider temporary measures if needed:
    If you notice any signs of a loose dental crown, using temporary tooth cement as an interim measure while scheduling a dentist appointment might help prevent further issues.
  8. Stay informed with dental care tips:
    Ask your dentist for maintenance tips specific to your case. Being well-informed is beneficial for patients as it helps them feel empowered in managing their dental health.

Understanding the Importance of Regular Dental Check-ups

Regular dental check-ups are vital in maintaining the integrity of dental crowns and overall oral health. Here’s why:

  • Early detection of loose dental crowns:
    Dentists can identify early signs of a loose dental crown, allowing for timely intervention.
  • Professional dental crown care:
    Dentists offer personalised dental crown maintenance tips, contributing to the longevity of your crowns.
  • Prevention of further damage:
    Having regular appointments can help prevent potential complications that may arise from a loose crown.
  • Comprehensive oral health review:
    Check-ups include a full mouth examination so dentists can assess your oral health and other problems that may affect it.
  • Building trust with your dentist:
    Regular visits foster trust and cooperation, turning dental appointments into comfortable and beneficial experiences.
  • Education and advice:
    Dentists can provide information on common causes of loose dental crowns, which can help to improve understanding.

Final Thoughts

Having a loose dental crown can be problematic, but it can be easily managed. With the right information about dental crown care and maintenance, patients can confidently handle this dental problem and take control of their oral health. By understanding the symptoms and taking preventive measures, you can maintain a healthy and beautiful smile.

Should you encounter a loose dental crown, remember that professional dental care is indispensable. Temporary measures may offer relief, but an appointment with a trusted dental care provider will allow you to have the appropriate treatment.

If you’re in the Kalamunda area and seeking advice on dental crown maintenance or other dental care needs, consider contacting Hills Family Dental Centre Kalamunda. Their dental team is committed to providing quality dental services that cater to individual needs, helping you maintain a healthy and confident smile.