Losing a filling or crown can happen for several reasons but it is rarely an emergency.  Although, it can be very painful because the tooth’s tissue that is now exposed is often sensitive to air, pressure, or temperature.  So, what should you do when this happens?

There is a difference between needing a dental filling versus a dental crown, but they are both used for the same purpose.  They are used to repair a decayed or damaged tooth.  Your dentist will decide on which to recommend based on the extent of repair the tooth is needing.

  • Size of the cavity. 
  • The tooth’s condition.
  • Is the tooth broken or cracked?
  • Is a root canal needed?

Dental fillings are usually to treat minor tooth decay and can be performed right in your dentist’s office.  The entire process will take up to an hour.  Before beginning, your dentist numbs your teeth, gums, and surrounding skin to help reduce discomfort during the procedure.  The decay from the tooth will then be drilled out and replaced with the filling.  There are not any risks associated with this type of procedure, but it is always wise to keep your dentist’s contact information handy just in case you have complications or questions.

Dental crowns, also known as dental caps, will completely cover the damaged or decayed tooth.  This procedure too can be performed in your dentist’s office.  Its purpose is to restore the tooth’s size and shape while adding protection.  They are made from either metal or porcelain and are cemented to your diseased tooth.  Since crowns are made specifically for a tooth, it will require at least two dental visits, the first being the crown fitting visit.  If your tooth happens to be severely damaged, your dentist will provide you with a temporary crown while your permanent crown is being made.  

To fit a crown, local anesthesia is administered to numb the area.  Your dentist will then need to drill the tooth down so that an area is provided for the crown to be attached.  Any tooth decay should be treated at this time.  The procedure will take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.  Same as a dental filling, it is wise to keep your dentist’s contact information handy for questions or complications.   

If a dental filling or crown falls out, do not panic.  You should call your dentist as soon as possible but do not wait too long.  Waiting can further decay the tooth causing more problems since the tooth is now exposed to bacteria.  If your dentist cannot see you right away, there are steps you can take to protect your tooth until you are able to have a scheduled appointment.  

Filling Falls Out: 

  • Gargle with salt water to keep the area clean to help kill bacteria until you can see your dentist.
  • Use dental wax or temporary filling material to protect the tooth.
  • If you are in pain, take an over the counter nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen.
  • Use a cold compress against your cheek for 15 minutes at a time to reduce swelling.
  • Avoid chewing on the exposed tooth area.
  • Bring the filling in for your dentist to determine if it can be reused.

Crown Falls Out:

  • If the crown is still intact, purchase drug store dental cement to replace the crown.  Clean inside the dental crown then apply cement to your tooth.  Place the crown on top of the tooth and hold it until the cement dries.  This will protect the tooth until you can see your dentist.
  • If you are in pain, take an over the counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. 
  • Use a cold compress against your check for 15 minutes at a time to reduce swelling.
  • If the crown is broken, bring it in to show your dentist in case it can be reused.
  • If the crown is broken, purchase drug store dental putty to mold onto the tooth until you can see your dentist.

Having your dental filling or crown fall out unexpectedly can be scary.  What are possible causes for this to happen:


  • Chewing gum or hard candy.
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth.
  • You developed decay around the filling.
  • If the filling is recent, the bonding did not set properly.


  • An improper fit.
  • The cement deteriorates.
  • Recurring tooth decay.
  • Grinding your teeth.
  • Have a cavity that has formed underneath the tooth.

Taking care of our teeth should be a priority in your daily routine because it leads to good oral health care.  Healthy habits can prevent oral disease and reduce the chance of cavities.  Guilliot Dentistry is a family-owned business that offers an array of general and cosmetic services to help give you that beautiful smile you so deserve.  Contact Guilliot Dentistry at 337-237-1843 for any questions you may have. They are happy to help!