Temporary tooth crowns, usually made of plastic or stainless steel, are placed on a tooth while a permanent crown is fashioned. A dentist may advise you to take certain precautions while you have a temporary crown, such as avoiding sticky and hard food types and using the other side of your mouth to do most of your chewing. The sensitive tooth tissue underneath a temporary crown can cause pain if exposed to fluctuating temperature, pressure and air. Schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible if a temporary tooth crown (also called a "cap") falls out. The Columbia University College of Dental Medicine notes that if the missing temporary crown causes you no pain and doesn't affect your appearance, it's best not to try to attach it yourself. However, the crown may be replaced over your tooth using dental cement purchased from your local drugstore or pharmacy until you're able to see your dentist.
Replacing a temporary crown
Purchase a temporary dental cement from your drugstore or pharmacy. You may want to ask your pharmacist about adherents such as Dentemp or Recapit. (The Columbia University College of Dental Medicine notes that denture adhesive and petroleum jelly may work as well.)
Ensure the crown is cleaned well before you attempt to reattach it. Apply a layer of dental cement to the inside of the dry crown with the applicator as indicated by the manufacturer's instructions.
Align the temporary crown in your mouth appropriately and place it over the exposed tooth. Bite down carefully to make sure that you have a comfortable fit. If you haven't aligned the crown right, you may have to take it out and repeat Step 2 as necessary.
Rinse your mouth after a few minutes to remove dental cement debris. Most dental cements require that you wait at least an hour before attempting to eat, as it takes from one to three hours for the adherent to set completely.