Dental Hygienists: Expert Tips for HomecareDental Hygienists: Expert Tips for Homecare

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Dental Hygienists: Expert Tips for Homecare

In between regular cleanings with a dental hygienist, many people wonder what they can do to clean, protect and strengthen their teeth. If you are one of the many people with questions, this blog is designed to help you keep your teeth sparkling in between professional cleanings. It shows you how to adapt professional dental hygiene methods for your home, it explores home whitening techniques, it discuses the best flossing strategies and more. If you want to protect your smile, stick around. You will love the tips, tricks and ideas about dental hygiene that you learn from this blog. Although professional cleanings are necessary, these is a lot you can do in between your appointments, and you can learn about that here. Thanks!

Crown Crisis: Does a Lost Dental Crown Need Emergency Treatment?

A dental crown is attached to a tooth, restoring its outer surface while leaving the underlying tooth intact. The crown and the tooth are separate units, and while the dental cement that holds the crown in place is intended to last for the long haul, it's possible for a crown to be lost well before its time. Does this scenario in fact require emergency dental care?

Immediate Sensitivity 

No two patients are exactly alike. A lost dental crown may not be an emergency for some people, but for others, a lost dental crown can trigger immediate sensitivity in the uncovered tooth. This can be quite painful in some cases, so whether or not a lost dental crown is an emergency depends on your personal reaction to the situation. If it hurts, see an emergency dentist. But why has the loss of the crown resulted in immediate discomfort?

Natural Dental Enamel

The dental crown fulfils the same role as your natural dental enamel—it completely encircles the tooth to shield it from decay and external stimuli. You may still have some enamel under the crown, although a small layer of this enamel will have been removed to accommodate the crown. It could also be that deficient enamel is the reason why the crown was fitted in the first place. Without the protection offered by this enamel, your tooth is now vulnerable in a way that it shouldn't be.

The Dentin Dilemma 

When enamel is gone, the tooth's dentin is uncovered. This dentin forms the majority of the tooth's structure and isn't as solid as it might look. It's perfectly strong, but dentin actually contains scores of microscopic canals which lead from its outer surface to the pulp chamber in the middle of the tooth. This pulp chamber is where the tooth's nerve is, and when a crown is missing, the pulp can be exposed to pressure and temperature sensitivity, which it registers via these newly-exposed canals. It can be extremely uncomfortable, although this is only the first stage. The tooth's nerve can now also be reached by bacteria and other contaminants, placing it at risk of infection (which can lead to you needing a root canal before too long).

Emergency Treatment for a Lost Crown

It's practically impossible to avoid any discomfort or distress that might be triggered by a lost dental crown. Chewing on the unaffected side of your mouth, antiseptic rinses and over-the-counter pain relief will improve things somewhat, but won't solve the problem. An emergency dentist can replace a crown on an intact tooth, and this will generally be all that's needed. If the tooth itself has deteriorated further beneath the crown, it may need attention before the crown can be replaced. For example, the tooth might have a cavity that has deepened and will need to be filled before the crown can be replaced. If your crown was swallowed, an emergency dentist can generally add a pre-made temporary crown (usually acrylic) to the tooth. This will relieve your discomfort while restoring the tooth's functionality. Your own dentist can make a permanent replacement crown at a subsequent appointment.

Sometimes a lost dental crown is an emergency, and sometimes there's no harm in waiting. It depends on how much discomfort you're in, so please seek emergency dental care if a lost dental crown should result in immediate pain.