According to the American Dental Association, a crown, or "cap," is a dental restoration used to either strengthen a tooth with a large filling or restore a tooth that's broken, discolored or poorly shaped. Crowns can also be used to cover dental implants (artificial tooth roots). As the Cleveland Clinic explains, they can be made of all metal, all resin, all ceramic or a combination of porcelain fused to metal.
If you have a crown, you might be concerned about what to do if it pops off unexpectedly. Luckily, your dentist will know how to recement a crown.
Why Do Crowns Come Off?
- Short clinical preparations: If a prepared tooth is too short, there simply may not be enough tooth structure to retain the crown.
- Poor tooth foundations: If a tooth needs a crown because it is badly broken or decayed, the tooth may not be strong enough to hold the crown.
- Angle of the restoration: If the crown preparation is at an unfavorable angle, it may not stay secure.
- Bruxism: Bruxism is the habit of grinding one's teeth, which people often do without realizing.
- Chewing certain food: The National Institutes of Health recommends avoiding sticky foods, such as bagels and gummy bears, if you have a temporary crown. This is because these sticky foods may pull off the crown when chewing.
- Few teeth remaining: The fewer teeth you have, the more force the remaining teeth will experience as you chew, swallow, etc. This places more stress on any remaining teeth that have been restored with crowns.
How Your Dentist Will Recement a Crown
The process of recementing a crown is not too different from the original restoration placement process. According to the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry, recementing a crown involves the following steps:
- Crown trial fit: Your dentist will make certain that the crown is intact and still fits properly. They will check that the edges are sealed, the areas of contact with adjacent teeth are sound and that the bite is accurate before proceeding.
- Cementation: The cementation process typically involves cleaning and disinfecting the crown and the tooth, desensitizing the tooth if necessary and isolating the tooth from contamination. Your dentist will choose and mix the appropriate cement and apply it to the crown. They will then place the crown on the tooth under slight pressure.
- Post-cementation assessment: After your crown has been recemented, you dentist will remove any excess cement and check that your bite is still aligned correctly with the newly cemented crown.
Caring for Your Crown
Excellent oral hygiene is critical in maintaining the strength of a crown. As the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry notes, recurrent cavities are the leading cause of crown failure. You must be meticulous at removing plaque every day to make certain that your crown is not subject to decay. However, if you do need a crown recemented, rest assured that your dentist will do everything they can to ensure it stays secure.