How to Attach a Temporary Tooth Cap

Updated November 21, 2016

While your permanent crown is being made, the dentist will place a temporary cap over the tooth to protect it. A temporary crown is made from either acrylic resin or stainless steel, and it is glued in place with temporary cement. Should the temporary cap come off for any reason between appointments, it will need to be re-cemented. Going without the temporary crown may cause pain, and it may cause the permanent crown not to fit correctly. If the temporary cap comes off when a dentist is not available, it can be re-cemented at home.

Rinse the inside of the temporary crown that has come off. Inspect it for bits of food or anything foreign other than old cement. The old cement will be white or cream coloured.

Use a toothpick or bent paper clip to pick old cement out of the temporary crown. Rinse again after the old cement has been removed.

Try the crown on before applying replacement cement. Put it on and position it, making sure it is facing in the proper direction. It should slide back in place easily and fit smoothly next to your other teeth.

Dispense a small amount of temporary cement onto a paper mixing pad. Temporary cement can be purchased at a pharmacy. It requires no mixing.

Use a toothpick to coat the inside of the temporary crown with temporary cement.

Place the temporary crown back on the tooth, pushing it down firmly to properly seat it. Bite down firmly on the crown for 5 minutes while the cement dries. Excess cement will squish out around the bottom of the temporary cap.

Use a toothpick to pick off excess cement from around the edges of the temporary crown. Rinse your mouth with lukewarm water to expel any large pieces of cement.

Break off a length of dental floss. Wrap it around your index fingers, and run the floss between the teeth on both sides of the temporary crown. It is important that no cement remains between the teeth, because it may irritate the gums. Rinse again to expel any loose pieces of cement.

Follow steps 1 through 3 of the instructions for "Replacing a Crown Using Temporary Cement."

Dispense a small amount of denture adhesive, toothpaste or peanut butter inside the temporary crown.

Place the crown back on the tooth, and bite down firmly. Excess denture adhesive, toothpaste or peanut butter will seep out around the bottom edges of the temporary crown.

Use a toothpick or cotton swab to remove the excess material from around the edges.

Rinse with lukewarm water, but do not floss. The floss could catch under the edge of the temporary cap and pull it off.

Avoid using the capped tooth to chew tough or sticky foods. However, because a temporary crown is custom-made to fit securely on the tooth, often it will not come off again, even without proper temporary cement.


Use lukewarm water when replacing the temporary crown. The exposed tooth may be very sensitive to hot and cold.


Never let a temporary crown remain off. It is needed to protect the exposed enamel and dentine from damage and thermal changes. It also prevents the teeth and gum around it from shifting, thereby ensuring that the permanent crown will fit correctly when it arrives.

Things You'll Need

  • Toothpicks
  • Temporary dental cement
  • Paper mixing pad
  • Dental floss
  • Denture adhesive, toothpaste or peanut butter
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