I have had a porcelain crown on one of my molars for a few years now and the other day after lunch, I noticed an uncomfortable feeling while I was chewing. In fact, it was super-sensitive and I wanted to avoid chewing. When I took a closer look, my crown was gone. I guess that means I swallowed it! So now all I have is this tiny tooth stub. Of course, today is Saturday. Crap! What do I do? Do you think this is a dental emergency? It’s not like my tooth is agonizing me or anything, but it sure doesn’t feel normal and I can’t leave it unprotected. Or maybe I can wait until after the weekend and it’s not that big of a deal. Please let me know your thoughts.
– Paul in Virginia
It is understandable that you are concerned about swallowing your crown. Although, don’t feel panicked. So don’t worry, this too shall pass – literally. But all jokes aside, this is not an issue that you need to see an emergency dentist to resolve. A dental crown will have no problem working itself through your digestive system and shouldn’t cause you any discomfort. So you are probably fine to wait to consult with your dentist until Monday, or whenever there are regular business hours. Now here is the interesting part, it is entirely possible to try and retrieve it, clean it up, and re-cement it. Although, that is completely your decision and best that you consult with your dentist about that possibility. It could be that the crown was failing anyway and would absolutely be best that a new one is created.
The bottom line is that what you are dealing with is not a dental emergency. That said, it is expected that you will experience some sensitivity. It would probably be in your best interest to avoid chewing food on it and to stay away from very cold or hot drinks. The outer enamel of the tooth was removed when the tooth was originally prepared for the crown, so that is why it looks like a stub. So there is very little protection left for the nerve endings.
There are some people that find temporary crown kits available at local drug stores. That may help you manage the sensitivity until you are able to get into the dentist. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to call your dentist to notify them of what is going on, even if you only leave a message. Staff occasionally check messages over the weekend or have certain protocol in place to handle emergency dental situations. So getting that information prior to Monday morning will help notify them of the situation and may possible allow for the earliest appointment time during normal business hours.
This has happened many times, so try not to stress out about it. The sensitivity is actually a positive thing because this means that the tooth is still living and will likely not require a root canal.
This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.