What to do if you have a loose dental crown or bridge fall out.
This page contains directions that explain how to temporarily recement dental crowns (caps) that have come loose from their tooth and as a result have fallen out (the “glue” holding the restoration in place has simply let go).
This same technique can also be applied to bridges that have come off, as well as the temporary restorations you’re wearing while your permanent work is being completed.
Additional issues about lost restorations that may be of interest.
- We discuss how much it will cost to have your loose crown or bridge permanently recemented below on this page.
- If you’ve lost your restoration entirely, these pages can give you an idea of what to expect in replacement costs: Fees for crowns. Fees for bridges.
- Related page – What to do if you’ve swallowed your crown. How to find it.
Instructions for temporarily recementing a crown or bridge that has fallen out.
This technique uses denture adhesive as “glue” for recementing crowns or bridges that have come off. This is a temporary measure only. It’s just intended to get you by for those few days until you can arrange to receive attention from your dentist. (We discuss what to do about longer time periods here.)
Goals and objectives.
- Denture adhesive itself isn’t really expected to be strong enough to tightly bind loose restorations to their teeth. (Especially heavy all-metal crowns or long-span bridges.)
But the idea is that it should add enough stability (possibly surprisingly so) that it’s possible for you to continue wearing your lost restoration (something that’s very important to do) for much of your day.
- As an advantage of this technique, if you error in performing it you have done nothing that’s irreversible or will place you in a worse-off position.
- And unlike some other types of “glues” that you might use, denture adhesive won’t interfere with the recementation process your dentist will perform later.
! Precautions about wearing loose dental work.
There are a number of concerns and precautions that a person wearing any type of lost dental work needs to be aware of and heed.
- You must stay vigilant of the fact that even with this temporary fix your restoration is still loose from its tooth and absolutely can be dislodged.
- And in all cases, as soon as arrangements can be made your crown or bridge needs to be permanently recemented by a dentist.
How to temporarily recement a crown (or bridge) that has fallen out.
- Remove any loose debris from around your tooth or inside your crown.
- Seat the crown over your tooth as a test.
- With zero pressure, close your teeth together to confirm that it’s seated properly.
- Remove the crown and partially fill it with denture adhesive. (The adhesive acts as temporary “glue.”)
- Squish your crown back into place.
- With zero pressure, close your teeth together to confirm that it’s seated properly.
- Wipe away the excess adhesive.
The remainder of this page explains the process outlined above in greater detail.
Any debris remaining inside the crown will keep it from seating fully.
Remove any loose debris from around your tooth or the inside of your crown.
Seat the lost crown over your tooth as a test.
Figure out the orientation of your crown and then gently slip it over its tooth. Then, with absolutely no pressure, close your teeth together so to make sure that it’s seated properly.
- It should not interfere with your bite in any way.
- Your bite should feel exactly like it did before the crown came off, and pretty much the way it does when the crown is not in place.
- You don’t have the crown oriented on your tooth correctly, so switch it around.
- There’s still a piece of debris in the way. Check your tooth and inside the crown again.
“Glue” the loose crown in place with denture adhesive.
After your testing has been successful, fill the crown with a squirt of denture adhesive (the kind that comes in a tube) or if you have the powder kind, sprinkle it in and moisten it.
(The crown doesn’t have to be full. But there should be enough that some excess will squish out when the crown is seated.)
Place the filled crown back over your tooth. (Do it slowly enough that the excess has no trouble squishing out.) Then wipe away the excess with your finger or toothbrush.
Then just like before and still using zero pressure, gently check your bite so to confirm that your crown is seated properly. (If it isn’t, take it back off and start from the beginning of these instructions again.)
Note: What you’ve just accomplished is a temporary solution only (just intended for a few days use). And should only be used for wearing the crown on a part-time basis (see “Concerns and Precautions” section below).
Be in contact with your dentist.
You absolutely must make contact with your dentist’s office.
You need to let them know that your crown has fallen out and that you need an appointment to have it permanently recemented.
Wearing loose crowns- Concerns and cautions. What you need to do.
These rules and considerations apply to loose dental bridges too.
a) Only fully seated restorations should be worn.
If your bite feels different or wrong when your crown that has come off is placed back over its tooth, it’s not seated properly and should not be worn if that status can not be resolved.
That’s because wearing a restoration that’s “too high” can result in damage to its tooth or opposing teeth. In some cases, this damage can be significant. As worst-case scenarios, one of your teeth might fracture, or have its nerve traumatized to the point where root canal treatment is required.
b) You should wear your crown as much as you safely can.
You should try to wear your restoration that has come off as much as is reasonably possible. That’s because the more it is in place the less likely that your teeth (the crowned tooth or any of its neighboring or opposing teeth) will shift in position.
If a significant amount of tooth shifting takes place, your dentist may not be able to recement your restoration and instead will have to make you a new one.
There are times when your loose crown should be removed.
With just denture adhesive used as cement, your temporarily recemented dental work should be taken out during activities where its dislodgment is a possibility. Two examples are:
- For fear of swallowing the item if it does fall off, it makes sense to remove it while sleeping.
- The same precaution should also be taken when eating. (Of course, you’ll need to keep your eating and drinking activities away from your uncovered tooth so you don’t damage or irritate it).
c) Keep your tooth and restoration clean.
Cleaning your crown.
Any time your crown is taken out, you should clean the adhesive off of it. Using your toothbrush, a Q-tip® or a bent pipe cleaner inside should work well enough.
A potential problem is the case where residual adhesive remaining inside your restoration dries out and hardens. If it does, you may not be able to seat your crown back on your tooth properly.
Keeping your crown or bridge wet at all times can help to avoid this complication. So if it’s not in your mouth, after cleaning your restoration place it in a capped bottle with some water, or else wrapped up in a wet paper towel and placed in a baggie.
Cleaning your tooth.
Any tooth surface is always at risk for decay if debris is allowed to accumulate on it. And in fact, the surface of a tooth that’s been trimmed for a crown (exposed dentin) is less decay-resistant than its original enamel covering.
For this reason, you’ll need to remove your crown and brush your tooth multiple times per day, just like you do with your other teeth. Also, be sure to floss it and the sides of its neighboring teeth too, just like you routinely should with your other teeth.
d) Keep in mind that the weight of a dental bridge may make it hard to keep in place.
Dental bridges involve multiple teeth and therefore, as compared to crowns, usually weigh more. This additional weight factor can make them more difficult to keep in place.
You’ll simply need to keep this in mind and take precautions accordingly. The same issue can apply to very large metal crowns.
Why should you go to the trouble of wearing a crown or bridge that has come off?
By wearing loose dental work as much as possible, you can:
- Return your appearance back to normal. (A great luxury in the case that the restoration that’s fallen out is off a front tooth).
- Reduce your tooth’s sensitivity to hot, cold or air stimuli, if you have noticed that problem.
- Help to minimize the potential for tooth shifting (either the crown’s stub tooth, or its neighboring or opposing teeth).
! Not wearing a restoration that has come off can be a giant mistake.
The last point in our list above is probably the most important one. When teeth aren’t in contact with other teeth (like when your crown or bridge is out), they tend to shift.
- The goal of wearing your loose restoration is to prevent tooth movement. If none occurs, recementing the item can be amazingly quick and simple.
- In the case where your teeth have only shifted just the tiniest amount, your dentist may be able to restore the fit of your restoration by trimming on it or the affected teeth. If so, it can then be successfully cemented back into place.
- If a significant amount of tooth movement has occurred, the fit of the restoration may be so altered that it can’t be fixed and therefore can’t be recemented.
If so, what would have been a relatively minor expense to you will now involve crown or bridge replacement costs. That’s quite a difference.
How often do you need to wear your lost restoration to keep your teeth from shifting?
This isn’t really that easy of a question to answer because people and situations vary.
- You may be able to get buy with wearing your crown just a few hours a day.
- In other cases, you may need to wear it for as much of your waking day as possible.
- If your crown slips back into place and everything feels right and normal, then what you’re doing is working out.
- But if you slip it in and it seems wedged or your bite seems off, your teeth have started to shift.
If only the tiniest amount of tooth shifting has occurred, wearing your restoration may be able to guide them back into place (just like orthodontic treatment moves teeth). If that works you’re lucky. And take the hint that you need to be wearing your crown or bridge more often than before.
Other kinds of temporary “cement” you can use to recement crowns that have fallen out.
Our instructions on this page outline the use of denture adhesive (like that that comes in a tube) to recement lost dental work. Overall, this makes a convenient product to use, typically has quite a bit of tackiness to it and generally tends to work well.
There are other compounds you can use too, some of which you may already have around the house.
- Denture adhesive in powder form is one.
- Vaseline or toothpaste can also serve as (less effective) substitutes.
- Some crowns or bridges may stay in place surprisingly well without the use of any type of temporary cement at all.
Over-the-counter cement for restorations that have come off.
We like the idea of using denture adhesive as glue for lost crowns and bridges. (It’s usually strong enough to add substantial stability to a person’s situation. Yet weak enough that using it is always easily reversible.)
There are however, other, usually stronger, types of OTC cement available. You’ll need to use your own judgment about using one.
Points to consider before using an OTC dental cement.
- While the strength of these types of cements is no doubt greater than denture adhesive, they are typically hard-set products. That means if you don’t get things right the first time, or if you have to repeat the procedure later on, getting yourself back to initial conditions (a cement-free tooth and crown) is more of a challenge.
There’s also the issue of excess cement that expresses out of the crown during the cementation process and hardens. The presence of these globs will inhibit thorough plaque removal from around the tooth.
- We understand the inconvenience of using a weak adhesive but do you really want to use a (moderately) stronger one?
Using denture adhesive means you can take your crown out at times when there’s a risk that it will fall out. In comparison, do you really want to go to sleep wearing a restoration that’s held in place with temporary cement that may or may not hold overnight?
Along these same lines, your crown is worth many many hundreds of dollars. If the temporary cement you’ve used turns out to be stronger than expected, you’ll run a risk of it being damaged or broken when your dentist tries to get it off. (This would be more of a problem with some types of all-ceramic crowns.)
- Many OTC products are ZOE (zinc oxide and eugenol) cement (check their ingredients list to find out). The eugenol component may interfere with the set of the type of permanent cement that your dentist uses. (Christensen)
Choosing a non-eugenol product probably makes the best choice. Also, take whatever product you have purchased when you go to your dentist’s office so they can see what you’ve used.
- Never consider using super glue. This makes the absolute worst choice possible, period.
Delayed treatment / COVID-19 considerations.
Due to extenuating circumstances, like the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, some people may find their ability to appoint with a dentist severely limited or even non-existent over the near-term.
Beyond the basic considerations and precautions already discussed on this page, related to that scenario, we’d like to mention the following points:
Keeping your tooth clean is imperative.
Allowing plaque and debris to accumulate around your tooth and/or underneath its crown, especially over a prolonged time frame, can set the stage for complications with tooth decay, gum irritation or gum recession. Adequate oral home care must be diligently maintained.
Choice of “cement.”
When a longer-term scenario is considered (anything more than just a few days), we wondered if the use of an organic compound, like denture adhesive, might support bacterial growth and therefore place the patient at greater risk for complications.
After searching through research study databases and the web, we couldn’t come up with an answer. In comparison to an organic compound, petroleum jelly (discussed above) would seem to have less potential to promote bacterial growth, and therefore using it (or nothing at all if possible) might make the safer choice for long-term cases.
Who should you have recement your crown?
Any dentist should be more than capable of recementing your crown. But listed below are some issues that you might consider when choosing exactly who will.
a) The dentist who originally placed your crown –
They may not charge you.
No dentist likes to see people have problems with the work they provided. And depending on the circumstances, they might even be a little embarrassed that you did.
Bottom line, for quick, uncomplicated recementations (like the case where you’ve followed the instructions above), they might not even charge you.
You’ll probably get appointed quicker.
Once again, it’s their work. One would expect that they would take some interest in servicing it.
b) Another dentist –
If they can appoint you sooner …
Considering all of the issues discussed above, in situations like when you’re away from home and will be for a while, having a different dentist just go ahead and take care of matters, before complications have a chance to crop up, makes a lot of sense.
It gives you a chance for a second opinion.
If your crown is brand new and has just come off, or if it’s been off repeatedly, a different dentist may be more forthcoming in explaining/critiquing why your restoration is proving problematic.
While hindsight is always 20/20, their observations may help to guide your decisions about future dental work. As example issues:
- The shape your tooth was given when your crown was originally placed affects both the success of its original cementation process as well as recementation attempts. (Ayad)
- Crown or tooth modifications made by a dentist at the time of previous recementation attempts may aid in their success. (Amarnath)
How much does it cost to permanently recement a loose dental crown?
Here’s an estimate of the fee a dentist might charge to recement a dental crown or bridge that has fallen out.
- Recementation of a dental crown (“permanent” cement).
$85.00 – $141.00
- Recementation of a dental bridge (“permanent” cement).
$93.00 – $178.00
Low fee = Small rural city or town.
High fee = Large metropolitan area.
How did we come up with this estimate?
Note: As discussed above, some dentists may not charge for recementing a restoration if they were the dentist that placed it originally.
Page references sources:
Amarnath GS, et al. Comparative Evaluation of Enhancing Retention of Dislodged Crowns Using Preparation Modifications and Luting Cements: An In-Vitro Study.
Ayad MF, et al. Influence of tooth preparation taper and cement type on recementation strength of complete metal crowns.
Christensen G. Ask Dr. Christensen.
Diamond R. Dental First Aid for Families.
All reference sources for topic Dental Crowns.