By: Dr. Lahiru Chandraweera

October 10, 2023

A Complete Guide to Temporary Dental Crowns: Function and Benefits

Temporary dental crowns are a vital part of many dental procedures, acting as a protective shield for a prepared tooth while the final dental crown is being prepared. Imagine biting into a crunchy apple and feeling a sudden crack in your tooth.

A visit to the dentist reveals that you need a crown, but dental crown fabrication takes time. What happens in the meantime? This is where temporary dental crowns come into play. If you’ve ever wondered why temporary dental crowns are a crucial step in restoring your smile, keep reading.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll uncover the different types of crowns, compare costs, and share strategies to manage expenses without compromising quality. From understanding the temporary crown procedure to temporary crown care, we’ll cover everything you need to know.

Ready to learn more about temporary crown uses and more? Read on!

Hills Family Dental Centre

Summary of the Content

  • Temporary dental crowns protect teeth, facilitate the transition to final dental crowns, and maintain appearance and oral hygiene.

  • Various materials like porcelain, metal, and resin are used, each with unique characteristics.

  • The procedure for placing temporary crowns includes preparation, impression-taking, and placement.

  • Temporary dental crown care involves avoiding certain foods, gentle cleaning, following the dentist’s instructions, and regular check-ups.

  • Challenges may include sensitivity, loosening, and aesthetic concerns, and these can be managed through proper care and dentist communication.

  • Temporary and final dental crowns differ in material, function, diet considerations, and care.

  • If a temporary crown falls out, immediate steps include staying calm, retrieving the crown, avoiding certain foods, and contacting a dental professional.

The Importance of Temporary Dental Crowns

Temporary dental crowns are more than just a stopgap measure. They play a significant role in various dental procedures. Temporary crown uses include the following:

  • Protecting the Tooth:
    Temporary dental crowns protect the tooth from further damage, maintaining its shape and preventing decay.

  • Facilitating Transition:
    They act as a placeholder, making the transition to the final dental crown smooth and seamless.

  • Aesthetic Benefits:
    While waiting for the final dental crown, temporary crowns provide a natural appearance, so you don’t have to hide your smile.

  • Oral Hygiene and Comfort:
    Temporary crowns help maintain dental hygiene and offer comfort during the waiting period.

  • Avoiding Sensitivity:
    By covering the tooth, temporary crowns reduce sensitivity to hot or cold food.

  • Preventing Tooth Movement:
    They prevent adjacent teeth from moving into the space for proper alignment.

With temporary dental crowns, you can continue to enjoy most foods, but be mindful of sugary foods that might lead to tooth decay. Following the dentist’s instructions step by step will help you maintain your dental hygiene during this period.

Materials Used for Temporary Crowns

Temporary dental crowns are designed to provide a temporary restoration until the permanent crown is ready to be cemented. These temporary restorations need to be durable enough to withstand the forces of chewing yet easily removable when it’s time to place the permanent crown. Here are some common materials used for temporary dental crowns:

  1. Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA):
    This is one of the most common materials used for temporary crowns. It’s a type of acrylic resin and can be mixed chairside to craft a temporary crown.

  2. Polyethyl Methacrylate (PEMA):
    This is another acrylic resin. While it has a softer composition compared to PMMA, it is less likely to fracture and is used in situations where the temporary crown will not be in place for a long time.

  3. Bis-Acryl Composite Resin:
    This material combines the properties of acrylics and composites. It has good strength and esthetics and sets quickly. This is often used in prefabricated crown forms or can be used in combination with a matrix to mould the temporary crown.

  4. Composite Resin:
    In some cases, especially when esthetics is of paramount concern, a dentist might use composite resins for temporary crowns. They offer good esthetics but may not be as durable as the other options.

  5. Stainless Steel:
    Mainly used in pediatric dentistry, stainless steel crowns serve as long-term temporary or even semi-permanent solutions, especially for baby teeth molars.

The material chosen for a temporary crown largely depends on the clinical situation, the expected duration of service for the temporary, the patient’s esthetic demands, and the dentist’s preference. Proper care should be taken with temporary crowns, as they are not as durable as permanent restorations. Patients are often advised to avoid sticky or hard foods and to be gentle while brushing and flossing in the area of the temporary crown.

The Procedure for Placing Temporary Crowns

Placing temporary dental crowns is a precise and carefully executed procedure. It’s a step-by-step process for the protection and aesthetics of your tooth while the custom crown is being prepared. Here’s a step guide to the temporary crown procedure:

  • Preparation:
    The dentist prepares the tooth by reshaping it.

  • Impression Taking:
    An impression of the tooth is taken to create a custom-fit crown.

  • Selecting the Material:
    The dentist chooses the temporary crown material that suits your needs.

  • Placing the Temporary Crown:
    The dentist fits the crown over the tooth using temporary cement.

  • Adjusting for Fit and Comfort:
    Necessary adjustments are made for a comfortable fit.

Understanding the temporary crown procedure and dental crown maintenance can help you feel more at ease during the process. Knowing what to expect during your treatment can make the experience smoother.

How to Care for Your Temporary Crown

Taking care of your temporary crown is essential for keeping it safe and preventing crown damage. Here are some practical tips for temporary crown care:

  • Avoid Hard and Sticky Foods: These can dislodge the crown from the tooth.

  • Clean Gently: Use a soft toothbrush and floss around the crown to keep it clean.

  • Avoid Extreme Temperatures: Sensitivity to hot and cold foods might occur; moderate temperatures are advised.

  • Follow Dentist’s Instructions: Adhering to your dentist’s guidelines for proper crown care is vital.

  • Monitor for Discomfort or Loosening: If you notice any changes in the crown over time, contact your dental professional.

  • Schedule Follow-Up Appointments: Regular check-ups will help your dentist monitor if the crown fitting is still secure.

  • Consider Dental Crown Care Products: Anti-sensitivity toothpaste or antiseptic mouthwash might be recommended.

  • Avoid Applying Pressure: Chew on the opposite side of the mouth if possible to reduce pressure on the temporary crown.

Your dentist will provide specific instructions tailored to your situation, and following them closely will contribute to the success of the temporary crown treatment.

Common Challenges with Temporary Crowns

While temporary dental crowns are an essential part of many dental procedures, they might present some challenges:

  • Sensitivity: Exposure to hot or cold foods can cause discomfort.

  • Loosening: The temporary crown material might loosen over time.

  • Gum Irritation: Improper fit might lead to irritation around the gums.

  • Aesthetic Concerns: Temporary crowns might not match the colour of natural teeth accurately.

  • Chewing Difficulties: Adjusting to dental crowns on molar teeth can take time.

Understanding these challenges and why they occur can help you manage them effectively. You can do this by:

  • Communicating with Your Dentist: Regular communication and follow-up appointments will help address any issues.

  • Following Care Instructions: Proper dental crown treatment and care can prevent many challenges.

  • Seeking Professional Care if Needed: If you encounter any significant problems with your teeth with crowns, don’t hesitate to contact a dental professional.

Temporary dental crowns are an important aspect of modern dentistry, and it is essential to have a good understanding of the process, care requirements, and potential challenges for a comfortable and successful experience.

Comparing Temporary and Final Dental Crowns

When it comes to dental crowns, understanding the differences between temporary and final dental crowns is essential. Both have unique roles in the dental restoration process, and here’s how they compare:

AspectTemporary Dental CrownsFinal Dental Crowns
MaterialOften use materials like acrylic, composite or stainless steel, suitable for short-term useUtilise more durable materials like porcelain, ceramic, or metal, designed to last many years
FunctionProtect the tooth and prevent movement, serving as a placeholder during the waiting periodRestore the tooth’s function and appearance for the long term
Diet ConsiderationsMay need to avoid chewy food items, sticky food items, and food particles that could dislodge the crownAllow a return to normal eating habits, including chewy and sticky foods
Care and MaintenanceInvolve special attention to cleaning and potential sensitivityRequire regular oral hygiene but are generally more resilient
Dentist InvolvementOften placed by a dentist proficient in general proceduresMay involve a specialist dentist for guidance, particularly for complex cases

Whether you’re in the transition period awaiting your custom dental crown or have just received one, knowing these differences helps you make informed decisions about your dental care.

What to Do if a Temporary Crown Falls Out

A temporary crown falling out can be alarming, but it’s a situation that can be managed with proper care. Here’s what to do:

  1. Stay Calm: Recognise that this is not uncommon and is a manageable situation.

  2. Retrieve the Crown: Carefully retrieve the crown to prevent swallowing.

  3. Avoid Eating on That Side: Eat on the opposite side to prevent fracturing the exposed tooth.

  4. Contact a Dental Professional Promptly: Reach out to a qualified dentist as soon as possible.

  5. Follow Professional Advice: Your dentist will guide you through the next steps, whether it’s re-cementing at home or scheduling an appointment.

While extensive decay or underlying decay might complicate the situation, prompt action and professional guidance can mitigate most risks.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the world of temporary dental crowns can be complex, but this guide has aimed to shed light on every aspect of the process. From understanding the temporary crown procedure to temporary crown care and exploring the use of temporary crowns, the insights shared here can empower you to make informed decisions about your dental health.

The transition from temporary to final dental crowns is a significant phase in dental restoration. It’s a waiting period filled with considerations about materials, care, potential challenges, and dietary adjustments. Maintaining your oral hygiene routine during this transition period is vital.

At Hills Family Dental Centre Kalamunda, we believe in providing comprehensive guidance tailored to your unique situation. Whether you’re in the early stages of considering a crown or have questions about your existing temporary dental crowns, our team is here to support you.

Your smile is an integral part of who you are, and we’re committed to helping you keep it healthy and beautiful. Contact Hills Family Dental Centre Kalamunda today via our clinic or website. Let’s embark on this journey together, prioritising your dental health every step of the way.