Nowadays, there are a variety of options available when it comes to restoring damaged, decayed, or missing teeth. Some of these restorations can be placed in as little as one dental appointment, while others may take longer. When having an indirect restoration placed, such as a crown, bridge, inlay, onlay, or veneers, you can expect to visit your dentist’s office at least two times. This is because indirect restorations must be custom made outside of your mouth at a professional dental laboratory that specializes in restoration fabrication.
Since indirect restorations are produced outside of the mouth, the first appointment is necessary for your dentist to prepare the tooth and obtain the necessary information. Depending on the type of restoration you are getting, your tooth may need to be modified in shape and/or size so that the restoration can fit properly without affecting the bite. Then after the tooth is prepared, a dental impression will be taken so that the dental lab knows what shape and size to make the restoration.
The second appointment is then needed to place the permanent restoration. However, since there is usually about a 1-2 week period between your first and second appointments, your dentist will place what is known as a provisional, or temporary restoration. Although you will only have a temporary restoration for a short period of time, they are an essential part of restorative dental treatment. In fact temporary restorations are needed for reasons, such as:
After your tooth has been prepared, you may have areas of exposed dentin that can cause tooth sensitivity and general discomfort. A temporary restoration covers any exposed parts of the tooth to protect your teeth from sensitivity and bacteria that can cause cavities or pulp damage.
Maintains Space & Gum Contour
Your teeth move in response to pressure or a lack of pressure. This means that when a tooth changes in shape or size, the amount of pressure in one area of your mouth can change. As a result, your teeth may start to shift slightly and affect the fit of the permanent restoration. To prevent this, temporary restorations are used to preserve the necessary amount of space.
Not only do temporary restorations keep the necessary amount of space for your permanent restoration, but they also preserve your natural gum contour. Many people don’t realize that the way your gums fit over your restoration can make all the difference when it comes to having a natural appearance. By maintaining your natural gum contour, the permanent restoration will fit flawlessly along your gum line and look natural.
Placing a temporary restoration is also essential to prevent eating and speaking functions from being impaired. Not only do temporary restorations prevent tooth sensitivity from dictating your diet, but they also prevent changes in your speech caused by an altered tooth structure.
Test Drive Results
Finally, your temporary restoration is a way for you to test drive your results. Although your permanent restoration will fit and look slightly different, wearing a temporary restoration allows you to see an approximation of what your smile will look like, as well as how the restoration will feel.
Overall, temporary restorations are needed to protect the teeth, maintain space and gum contour, prevent impairments, and test drive results during the time between your first and second dental appointments. In addition to being an important step to your permanent restoration, temporary restorations also make it easier than ever to get a smile on your face.
Dr. Alina Huang has been practicing dentistry in Manhattan for the last eight years. She was born in New York City, and raised in California where she received her Bachelor’s degree at UCLA, and her D.D.S. at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. She then made her return to NYC where she completed her General Practice Residency at Montefiore Medical Center and has been working in private practice ever since. She continues her learning by attending courses to stay current with the latest advancements in dentistry and refine her skills.