Losing a dental crown may just seem like a nuisance, but it's a much bigger deal than that. If you've had a former dental crown fall off and haven't had it replaced, you should change that right away. Read on to discover why a missing dental crown can vastly impact your dental health and what you should do about it.
What a Crown Does
Dental crowns provide a level surface for you to eat with that looks and functions like a real tooth. However, what they really do goes far beyond that.
When your dental crown was placed, it was put there to protect exposed parts of your tooth, most likely after the tooth was either broken, chipped, or experienced a severe cavity. Crowns provide a seal on the surface of the tooth that doesn't let anything get past it. Once it's gone, however, the interior of your tooth is completely vulnerable.
The Interior of a Tooth
Teeth might seem pretty tough, but they're really only that way on the outside. Enamel, the first and strongest surface on the outside of your tooth, is the sole thing responsible for keeping the rest of your tooth safe. Inside, much softer and more sensitive tissues like the pulp and dentin are hidden away. However, when a tooth is damaged and those structures are exposed, they're put at risk.
The pulp and dentin of your teeth have no basic protective mechanisms, so if they're exposed to viruses, bacteria, or even decomposing bits of food, they're at risk. All three of these things can cause permanent damage to the inside of your tooth, requiring more drilling to remove. In addition, your tooth could become infected, which could harm the rest of your mouth if allowed to progress without dental help.
The only way to keep your teeth from getting permanently damaged is to get a replacement crown put on as soon as possible. Ideally, you should visit an emergency dentist that can put a crown on in one visit.
The process is fairly simple. Your dentist will examine the damage and remove any remaining bits of crown and adhesive, if there are any. Then, they'll clean the area and look for signs of infection or damage. If any is found, your dentist may need to drill away the damaged part or perform a root canal. However, if you got there early enough, the dentist will instead be able to put a new crown on right away, protecting your tooth and ensuring that you're safe again.
Dental crowns are a great way of protecting teeth, but they can't do their job if they aren't there. If you've lost a crown and haven't sought treatment yet, get to a dentist right away and request a same-day crown. Contact a dentist like David Russell DDS, Inc for more information.