Updated: Apr 1
If your temporary crown falls off, you should either reglue it yourself with temporary glue or have your dentist do it for you. It is important to glue it back on because the temporary helps protect against sensitivity and also makes the subsequent appointment take less time.
This article will explain how to recement a temporary crown by yourself and also explain the importance of having it back on your tooth.
How to use glue for temporary crown that fell off
If your temporary crown falls off over the weekend, your dentist may not be available and you're left with no choice but to try to glue it back on yourself. Luckily, most pharmacies sell a temporary tooth filling kit which you can use as temporary crown cement or glue.
Rinse temporary crown. Run it under cool water to remove any food or debris that may be on it.
Brush your teeth. Make sure you brush and floss your teeth because you should be gluing the temporary back onto a clean surface.
Try the temporary back in. Attempt to place the temporary back onto your tooth. It may take you a couple of attempts and if it doesn't fit you may need to rotate it a few times for the correct orientation. This steps allows you to familiarize yourself with the orientation that it is suppose to go back in.
Rinse and dry crown. After you're done trying it in, make sure you clean the temporary once more so that there is no residual saliva on it. A clean surface will glue better.
Place glue in crown. You want to place a THIN layer of temporary cement in the crown. You do NOT want to put too much because the excess glue may prevent the crown from seating down properly.
Bite down gently. You want to bite down gentle a couple of times to make sure that the crown is fully seated. This step also ensures that you have the bite correct.
Clean around temporary. Now take a wet Q-tip and clean the excess glue around the crown as best as you can.
Wait an hour before eating. Now if everything seems nice and stable, you are all good to go. Just make sure you wait an hour before you eat so that you don't pull it off by accident.
If you prefer a video, here is one showing you how to use temporary crown glue:
If you manage to reglue the temporary crown that fell off back on and the bite feels even, you've successfully averted a crisis. You should pat yourself on the back because there is nothing more that you need to do except wait for your dental appointment to have the permanent crown glued in once its ready.
Here is a list of temporary materials available for purchase at your pharmacy:
There are more but these are the most common. Some of the larger pharmacies such as CVS have their own branded temporary tooth filling. All of the temp filling kits are made of the same material so it doesn't matter which brand you buy.
Why you should try to have temporary crown glued back on
The two reasons why you want to have the temporary crown glued back on is because the tooth may be sensitive and it also reduces the amount of time the permanent crown appointment takes.
Tooth may be sensitive
The reason why your dentist gave you a temporary crown instead of leaving it bare and uncovered is to help protect your tooth from sensitivity. This is especially true if the tooth is still alive and did not have a root canal on it. The temporary protects the sensitive dentin from exposure to outside elements like cold air and cold water. Without the temporary, your tooth may be extremely sensitive to temperatures.
For this reason alone, if the temporary falls off of a tooth without a root canal, you may want to glue it back on as soon as possible. It'll be much more comfortable for you when you're not reeling from cold sensitive when you're eating.
Reduces appointment time of permanent crown appointment
Even if your tooth does not feel sensitive with the temporary crown off, you should still try to glue it back in because it can reduce the amount of time for your next appointment. The reason is because without the temporary on, there is a space or gap between your teeth and your adjacent teeth can shift into the space. If your adjacent teeth move into the missing temporary crown space, the permanent one that comes back may not fit properly.
The reason is because your dentist took a mold of your teeth in a particular position to have the permanent crown made. However if the teeth happen to move, that permanent crown will not fit. What your dentist will have to do is to adjust the crown to make it fit. This adjustment process adds time to the crown appointment.
You can potentially avoid all of this if you manage to glue the temporary crown back in because it prevents the adjacent teeth from drifting into the open space. Its always good to not have to spend your entire day at the dentist!
Tips to prevent the temporary crown from falling off
Temporary crowns can come off if you're not careful because they're glued in with temporary glue. Here are some dos and don'ts for preventing and minimizing the chances of it coming off.
Try chewing more on the opposite side.
Eat softer foods whenever possible
After flossing, pull the floss out sideways.
Brush the temporary crown.
Wear a night guard if you grind your teeth.
Chew gum or anything sticky like caramel or laffy taffy.
After flossing, don't pull up!
Don't eat hard foods that can crack or break the temporary.
What should you do if you can't reglue it yourself
If you're unable to glue the temporary crown back on after it falls off, you should keep it safe and bring it to your dental appointment.
Keep it safe. Place the temporary in a zip lock bag or a coin pouch so that it doesn't get lost.
Bring it to your appointment. Don't forget to bring it with you to your appointment because if you forget it, you'll have to go back home to get it! Alternatively, your dentist could also make you a brand new one but that takes additional time. If you don't mind spending more time at the dentist you can go ahead and let them make another one. However if you want to be in and out, the quickest way to do so would be to bring your temporary with you so they can simply glue it back on in less than 5 minutes.
Alternatively you can also find an emergency dentist to do it for you.
Reasons for why you can't glue it back on
You messed up and didn't follow the instructions for the temporary tooth filling kit.
You don't know how to use the kit.
The temporary doesn't fit back on no matter how hard you try.
The temporary crown cracked in more than two pieces.
You swallowed it the crown while eating.
The best thing to do if your temporary crown falls off over the weekend is to glue it back on with a temporary tooth filling kit. The reason is because it'll protect the tooth from sensitivity and also prevent the adjacent teeth from drifting. The former is for your own comfort while the latter is to reduce the amount of time needed for the subsequent permanent crown appointment.
However, if the tooth is not sensitive even without the temporary on, you may leave it as is. Just be aware that it may make your next appointment take more time! You still have to brush and floss the tooth even if its missing a temporary.
Author: Written by Dr David Chen, a dentist in long island city.