What to Do If My Temporary Cap Comes Off

When a temporary crown and/or bridge is put in, the dentist uses a temporary cement so he/she can get it off when it’s time to put in the permanent one. This is not as strong as the permanent cement, so you need to take care not to dislodge the temporary cap.

What to do

It’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions as closely as possible following crown and bridge work. You will be instructed to avoid chewing on ice or any hard food, and to stay away from anything sticky—like caramels, gum, or gooey chocolates. And you should try to chew on the other side of your mouth when you eat. Also, be careful flossing.

But in spite of these efforts (more likely if you don’t make the effort!) a temporary crown and bridge may come off. And it’s important to know exactly what to do:

  • Call your dentist and explain what happened
  • Secure the temporary cap and protect it.

If you can’t find it, a new one can be made.

The temporary protects the original tooth, plus, there could be a slight shifting of the teeth around the missing crown and/or bridge causing a bite problem. This is especially true for missing bridges. And for this reason your dentist will make every effort to get you in as soon as possible. The temporary cap can be easily re-cemented.

If you are out of town, or not able, for whatever reason, to get to the dentist, you can do the re-cementing yourself with over-the-counter dental filling material, found at most drug stores. In a pinch, toothpaste, Vaseline, or Fixodent will work, but not nearly as well. And by all means, get to the dentist as soon as you can.

How is it done?

If you have to do it yourself, certain important steps must be taken.

  • Clean the cement out of the temporary with a toothpick or bobby pin.
  • Place the temporary cap on your tooth, to see how it fits correctly. If the bite doesn’t feel right, it may not be correctly fit. Try again, and note how to put it in right when you cement it.
  • Mix the dental cement. It will set up fast, so be quick.
  • Dry your tooth carefully with gauze or wash cloth.
  • Put cement in the temporary.
  • Place the temporary on your tooth. Bite down gently and tap your teeth together to make sure the bite is right.

If you don’t feel extra pressure on the temporary cap when you bite down, place gauze or a wash cloth over it and bite down firmly for around 5 minutes. If, after doing this, the temporary still doesn’t feel secure, TAKE IT OUT. Never leave it in. You could aspirate or swallow it in your sleep.

Then get to the dentist, as soon as you can!