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A temporary crown is used to perform the functions of your natural tooth while a permanent crown is being made.
There are many uses for a temporary crown. The most common is when the impression for the permanent crown is at the dental laboratory and you need a temporary crown to hold the space and to prevent discomfort. A live tooth will be sensitive without a temporary crown.
The temporary crown prevents food impaction and maintains the gingival (gum) architecture and facial form. Gingival tissues heal around a natural tooth or temporary crown. A well-formed temporary is used to see that gingival tissues have adequately healed prior to proceeding with a final crown.
A temporary crown is also for esthetics. It should resemble the final restoration and serves as a preview of what the final crown will look like, especially if it is in the front of the mouth.
Most of the time, the temporary crown is placed while the lab makes your permanent one. The temporary crown prevents teeth from shifting, provides aesthetic function, can make the tooth less sensitive, preserves gum health, and helps you chew.
There are some offices that are able to make crowns on the same day (look up cerec or E4D) and no temporary is needed.
A temporary crown can also be used as a diagnostic test. If you have a cracked tooth and the dentist isn't sure how far the crack goes, a temporary crown is less of a financial investment for the patient. If the temporary makes the tooth feel better, then there is a good chance the final crown will be as good or better.
A temporary crown is an important part of the process of crown fabrication. It is used to protect the tooth during the period of time between crown preparation and crown fitting and cementation. The temporary crown also helps to maintain the occlusion and position of the opposing tooth/teeth and adjacent teeth (teeth on either side of the prepared tooth). Without the temporary crown, opposing teeth can erupt slightly and adjacent teeth can drift to narrow the space necessary to seat the crown. In addition, the temporary crown helps to minimize sensitivity and allow for necessary esthetics during this interim time period.
A temporary crown serves several functions:
- It protects the prepared tooth until the permanent crown is ready to be delivered. Remember, the nerve inside the tooth likely is still alive and the may be sensitive to things like cold if not covered. Also, the tooth structure that supports the tooth may be susceptible to breakage and/or contamination prior to insertion of the permanent crown.
- It acts as a place holder until the permanent crown is inserted. Teeth can shift or move, even in the short time that it takes to have a crown fabricated by the dental lab. If this happens the permanent crown may need to be adjusted considerably or may not fit at all.
- It serves as your substitute tooth both esthetically and functionally, allowing you to eat and speak normally.
- It can be used to "test drive" the permanent crown. The temporary can be adjusted easily multiple times until the perfect form and function is achieved. Then, this can be communicated to the dental lab when fabricating the permanent crown.
- It can be used to "train" or modify the gum tissue around the crown. This is especially true for implant supported crowns.
The most important reason for a patient to use a temporary crown is to preserve your appearance while the permanent crown is being fabricated. Additionally, the temporary crown prevents damage to the prepared natural tooth -- any damage could result in a poorer fit of the new crown. The temporary also prevents sensitivity, food impaction between the prepared tooth and adjacent teeth.
A temporary crown is used to protect the tooth structure while your permenant crown is being made. The temporary also reduces the sensitivity of the tooth while you are waiting on the permenant crown.
Temporary crowns are used to protect the tooth after being prepared for a permanent crown while the patient is waiting for the permanent crown to be made for them. The temporary crown also helps to prevent the prepared tooth from shifting in it position; when teeth are not contacting other teeth next to them, they can drift. The same is true if they are not in full occlusion, or biting position. It can sometimes be several weeks before a permanent crown is put it, and without a temporary crown, the tooth can move, which presents problems in placing the permanent crown, which may not fit in position.
It is important to follow instructions given to you by your dentist about your temporary crown. I tell my patients to wait 30 minutes after the appointment before eating or drinking; to avoid sticky foods or chewing gum while they have the temporary in place; to brush the tooth, but be careful when flossing it so as not to loosen the temporary, and if at any time the temporary becomes uncomfortable or loose or comes off, they should call us right away so that it can be put back in place. Even if you are not experiencing any pain, it is important that the temporary crown stays on the tooth until the time that the permanent crown is ready for you.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.