Dentist talking to patient about needs

Why Do I Need A Temporary Crown?

Though technology exists to make a permanent crown within a couple of hours rather than two-three weeks, not all dentists have the expensive equipment to create same-day crowns. So, while a dental lab constructs your permanent, custom-made dental crown, you’ll most likely receive a temporary crown.

So, why would your tooth need a temporary crown? Well, the reasons for a temp crown make sense the more you know about the dental crown procedure. And once you have a temporary crown, you’ll want to know how to best care for it.

What's the Procedure for Temporary and Permanent Dental Crown Placement?

If you need a crown for any reason – perhaps to cap a damaged tooth – expect to pay two dental visits. According to Cleveland Clinic, your dental professional will take the following steps.

First Appointment:

  1. X-ray the problem area and treat any lingering decay. (FYI: If you need a root canal, expect a third dental visit.)
  2. File down your natural tooth along the sides and at the top. This leaves you with a tooth in the shape of a mini-mountain, onto which your crown will fit.
  3. Take an impression of the filed tooth – as well as those above and below it – and send these impressions to a dental lab to design your permanent crown.
  4. Insert a temporary crown with temporary cement.

Though not custom-made to match the fit or color of your natural tooth, the benefits of a temporary crown include:

  • Protecting your filed-down tooth and the surrounding gum tissue while the crown is being made.
  • Serving as a placeholder, so your other teeth don’t move from their positions in your mouth. (FYI: That would cause a particular problem when you get your customized permanent crown.)
  • Giving you the ability to eat and speak normally.
  • If the tooth shows when you smile, giving you a more natural look than the nub of your filed tooth.

Second Appointment: When your permanent crown comes in, your dentist removes the temporary crown and fits the permanent crown in its place.

Caring for a Temporary Crown

Because only temporary crown cement affixes your temp crown, you’ll need to treat the prosthetic with some TLC.

Keep in mind these specific care tips:

  • After receiving your temp crown, avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes while the cement sets.
  • Very gently clean your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush twice daily.
  • Carefully (and daily) floss with an in-out motion instead of up and down to prevent pulling off your crown.
  • Stay away from foods that are sticky, chewy, crunchy, tough, hard, or that easily lodge in your teeth. (I’m looking at you, popcorn kernels.) Also, avoid sugary food and drinks that might find a way into any vulnerable spots around your crown.
  • Be careful when eating or drinking something hot or cold. Your crowned tooth can be more sensitive.
  • If the crown does come off, buy some denture adhesive to affix the crown temporarily. And then schedule a dental appointment asap for a professional cement job.

Having a temporary crown can benefit you in many ways. And if you treat your temp crown royally, it should be just fine as you await the coronation of your permanent crown.

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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