The difference between a temporary crown (cap) or bridge and a permanent crown or bridge is the material it is fabricated from and the strength (hardness) of the cement used to hold it in place. They both have the potential to dislodge, but the temporary crown more commonly dislodges due to the type of cement used. We’ll refer to both as RESTORATIONS. The Emergency management recommendation is the same for both of these restorations.
You can simply clean the inside of the restoration off and reposition it back in place. It may remain in place without any cement. If you think the restoration is not secure, remove it when eating. Then clean the area and replace the temp after you finish with your meal. Hint: dental adhesive paste (Fixodent) or even a small amount of toothpaste works well to help hold it in place. Generally, if you are unable to reposition your restoration it is not an urgent situation.
If this is not stable enough, there are temporary cements available over the counter.
One example is DENTEMP.
Steps to consider if you decide to re-cement using an over-the-counter temporary cement.
- Read and follow the directions for the temporary cement carefully.
- Remove any food and/or old cement from both the restoration and your tooth.
- Always try to put the restoration back in without cement to ensure proper fit and while in position check to see if your bite feels normal. Bite down on both sides on the back teeth. This must be done before mixing the cement!
- Dry (as best as you can with a piece of paper towel) both the tooth and the restoration.
- Mix the cement and fill the restoration approximately 1/3 of the way. Try not to overfill (more is not better) since you will need to clean off the excess cement.
- Orient and seat the restoration. Bite down gently on both sides on the back teeth to seat the restoration until the cement is set. If the restoration seems high in your bite, remove it immediately and start over at step #2.
- Clean off excess cement. Gently use a toothpick in a direction towards the gums. We do not recommend flossing or any force that could lift the restoration up.