Dental patients are forever swallowing the tools and appliances meant to keep their teeth in good shape. What's interesting about this fact is that many people don't realize until much later. For instance, a man in India walked around with part of his denture lodged in his oesophagus for 8 days. In another case, a woman swallowed an entire toothbrush while attempting to induce the vomit reflex! However, while both these cases required the intervention of doctors, if you have swallowed a dental crown, unless you are extremely unlucky, you have nothing to fear.
A Crown and Post Should Pass Through Easily
When you swallowed your crown, even with its post still attached, there would have been little more than a small lump in your throat as it made its way down your oesophagus. That's because a typical crown and post are actually quite small when compared to the tubes and tunnels of your body.
The crown and cap will pass through your stomach undigested, enter your small intestine which is about 2 inches wide, and then proceed into your large intestine which at 3-4 inches wide, can pass some surprisingly large objects if need be.
It May Take a While so be Patient
While the chances of your crown passing through you without a hitch are extremely good, you might need to be patient. Remember, combined, your small and large intestines are roughly 25 feet long. While your food might reach your large intestine in 12-24 hours, it could take your crown as much as a week, maybe more.
If you are hoping to rescue your crown, patience is essential.
Inform Your Dentist Immediately
Upon swallowing your dental crown, notify your dentist. Even if the risk to your health is minimal, it is advisable to ask your dentist for a dental x-ray. This will remove any uncertainty concerning the location and status of the lost crown. Alternatively, you could simply let nature take its course since the chances of complications occurring are slim.
Crowns don't come cheap. This means you would likely rather retrieve your lost crown than pay for another one. Use gloves, a hose, and a sieve or bucket to search thoroughly after each trip to the toilet. Remember too to sterilize your crown in 3 parts water, 1 part bleach before taking it to your dentist. Your dentist will then sterilize once more and place it back where it belongs.