Dentistry |3 min read

Clinical Tips: When a Patient’s Crown or Temp is Out After Hours

By Dr. Lee Ann Brady

Crown is Out

With the holidays right around the corner I thought it was perfect timing to share one of my favorite clinical tips I learned from a dear friend. One of the things that I know is likely to happen over a long weekend or holiday is a few emergency phone calls from patients new and old. A handful of these may be due to a permanent or temporary crown coming loose. Over the years that I have been in practice I have tried suggesting a variety of ways my patients can manage this on their own. In my experience the temporary cements that they sell over the counter in drugstores are difficult for patients to use, and normally result in  a mess for both the patient and I. Somewhere once I heard to have them use Vaseline as a temp cement, and I have had poor results with this approach. Among other clinical tips I have heard is to use toothpaste, which I never personally recommended as I was worried that it would cause sensitivity against the dentin. clinical tips

Recently I heard another solution that seemed easy and workable. I promised the friend and mentor who told me this trick not to write about it until I had tried it. Well low and behold I had two opportunities very recently to give it a try and this is one of the clinical tips that really works! The trick is good old fashioned Elmer’s school glue. Elmer’s glue is non-toxic, so it doesn’t hurt all of the small children that ingest it. It is water soluble and easy to clean up. It is also readily available, most people have some at home already. Have the patient dry the inside of the crown or temporary. They also need to dry their tooth and biting on a folded up Kleenex works great for this. Have them take a small amount of Elmer’s and place it on the inside of the crown. They can spread it out with a toothpick to create an even coating. They then simply replace the crown over the tooth, and bite on the same tissue until the Elmer’s starts to set. I had them bite it into place for a full five minutes. I also instructed them to take the crown back out before going to bed, so it didn’t pop loose and get swallowed.

Both of my patients were amazed it would be that simple, glad that they could just use something easy to find and that they didn’t have to come in after hours. They both reported no bad taste and no sensitivity. They reported it was easy to take the crown back off before bed, and the Elmer’s peeled right out, and then they did the same thing the next morning to put it back in. When I saw the patients, the crowns came right off and with an explorer I was able to simply peel the set Elmer’s glue out of the crown and off the prep. This is one of those clinical tips I wish I had learned much sooner! [divider] emailOur Clinical Mastery Series eNewsletter, The Clinical Advisor, is full of awesome resources and clinical tips just like this one! To sign up, email