Dental Crowns are attached to the tooth structure with luting cement. Very rarely, it may happen that the dental crown is swallowed by the patient. Temporary crown or permanent crown may be swallowed by the patient accidentally.  Patient should be told not to get panic and stay calm if he has swallowed a Dental crown. Dental crown will be passed out in feces in few days.  Dental crowns or restorations may be inhaled or swallowed by the patient during chewing food, sleeping, laughing or yawning or may be during some accident. Inhaled crown may cause coughing, dysphagia or pain. Prosthesis may get lodged in the tonsils or pharynx and may cause infection. If there is any complication due to swallowing of dental crown, then an ENT specialist may also be consulted.  For recovering the dental crown which is swallowed by the patient accidentally, there are 3 alternatives.

1.    Patient can make himself throw up and can see whether the dental crown comes out or not.
2.    Patient can recover the swallowed dental crown from the bowel movements.
3.    Patient can get a new dental crown made from his dentist.

Regurgitation of Contents of Stomach

Dental crowns are quite a lot expensive and patient can make an effort to recover the swallowed dental crown. Making an attempt to recover the swallowed dental crown also makes financial sense.  Patient can throw up in a dishpan or a container and should not throw up in sink. If it is thrown in sink, then it may drain. If the crown is recovered, then it should be cleaned with household bleach.  (1:10 dilution of household bleach)

If swallowed dental crown is causing breathing difficulty problem and is not removed by coughing, then doctor should be consulted in this case.  Tracheotomy or cricothyriodotomy may also be required to remove the crown which is inhaled.

Swallowed Dental Crowns in Stools

Dental crown is a non-digestible item and it must pass through the digestive tract of the patient. Patient will pass the swallowed dental crowns in stools. Dental crown can be recovered by the bowel movements. Doctor may take an x-ray to ensure that the dental crown is passing normally. X-rays will help in determining the path of crown.

For the crown to pass through digestive tract, patient should eat a normal diet. Soluble fiber intake can be increased if patient experiences some constipation.  For the dental crown to pass through the digestive system, it may take up to 1 week.  More of soluble fiber in the diet will speed up the recovery process of the dental crown by softening the stools.

Dentist may give you temporary crown to wear by the time the patient retrieves his swallowed crown. Once the patient recovers his swallowed dental crown, then he can clean it to his best. Dentist will sterilize the crown before refixing it.

For bowel movements, a large, strong plastic bucket can be used by the patient.  To recover the swallowed crown, patient can also defecate on the newspaper spread on the bathroom floor.

This approach may seem disgusting but retrieving dental crown can actually save the cost of new dental crown.

New Dental Crown

If the dental crown which is swallowed is not recovered, then the patient can get a new dental crown made for him. Patient will have to spend his time and money to get a new crown made. If the dental crown is not recovered and patient experiences some difficulties, then he can visit a dentist. Patient can report about his experiences and findings to his dentist. The dentist can evaluate the situation of the patient and may tell the patient to get x-rays done to make appropriate diagnosis or may give some treatment recommendations. Crown or the prosthesis will appear radio opaque on the x-rays and may be demonstrated by barium swallow.  If the patient experiences lot of coughing after swallowing the dental crown, then there is a rare possibility that the dental crown has entered into the airways and lungs. Family doctor should be contacted by the patient in such a case. If patient experiences pain in the abdomen due to settling of dental crown in abdomen, then laparotomy may also be required. Most of the time dental crown or other prosthesis if swallowed will pass normally. Surgical intervention is rarely required.

Inhalation of crown by an infant

If a crown is inhaled by an infant and cause difficulty in breathing, then the crown can be removed by either inverting the infant by legs carefully or by clapping the back of kid so that the dental crown comes out or the dental crown can be removed with fingers from the pharynx.

Natural Tooth Swallowed Accidentally

If natural tooth is accidentally swallowed, then there is nothing much to worry about. There is actually no harm if a small chip of tooth or broken tooth is swallowed. Tooth will pass through the system without any harm. Patient should take diet rich in soluble fiber to speed up the recovery process.

Leave Comment


  • Dr.Ritz

    Dr.Ritz 20 - August - 2012, at 22:02 PM

  • Dear DONNA, Yes a tooth crown can enter into the lungs. The symptoms are excess coughing after you swallowed your crown. In that case you need to schedule an emergency visit to the physician. Make sure the if crown goes in than you swallow it so that it can go into the digestive system. If the crown goes into the digestive system then it can be recovered via stools else force regurgitation to make yourself vomit. But the later is not preferred as regurgitation can force the crown into the lungs. Here are some instructions to be followed in case of crown swallowing: 1. Avoid inducting vomiting 2. Drinks lots and lots of fluids to allow early passage to crown in the stools. 3. Have lots of fibrous diet. 4. Visit a physician to get an Xray done

  • Donna

    Donna 20 - August - 2012, at 10:19 AM

  • Can a tooth cap swallow go in you lungs?

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