All great performances have intermissions. Likewise, you can expect a brief interlude during your dentist’s performance of placing a cosmetic dental restoration. In fact, it is often necessary for most cosmetic dental restorations to be placed over the course of two or more dental appointments. During the first appointment, the affected tooth or teeth are prepared, and fabrication information for the restoration is obtained. The second appointment is then needed to place the final restoration. But, what happens between these two appointments?
During the time between your first and second appointment, a dental laboratory is fabricating your customized dental restoration. This is why two appointments are usually needed to place restorations. However, this doesn’t mean that the affected tooth or teeth are exposed during this intermission between appointments. Instead, your dentist will place what is known as a provisional, or temporary restoration.
Temporary restorations are used in coordination with indirect restorations. Indirect restorations are fabricated in a dental laboratory and include crowns, bridges, inlays, onlays, and veneers. Temporary restorations can also be used for partial or complete dentures, as well as dental implant treatment. Having a temporary restoration placed is necessary for several reasons, including:
Ensures the Fit
Changes in the size or shape of teeth can cause the surrounding teeth to shift or change position. This is especially the case if there is a missing tooth. When teeth shift in between the first and second appointments, this can cause the final restoration to not fit properly. Because of this, a temporary restoration is placed as a way to preserve the necessary space and ensure the fit of the restoration.
When a tooth is prepared for a dental restoration, varying levels of enamel are removed as a result of reshaping the tooth. Since the enamel is the protective layer of the tooth, removing it exposes the underlying dentin layer and makes the tooth more susceptible to decay and pulp infections, as well as tooth sensitivity. Therefore, temporary restorations are placed as a way of protecting the tooth until the final restoration is complete.
Allows Proper Eating and Speaking
Changes in the size or shape of teeth can alter the way air flows through the mouth, which ultimately changes the way you speak. Additionally, changing the size and shape of a tooth will affect your eating habits as well, especially if you are experiencing tooth sensitivity. In order to maintain your normal speaking and eating functions, temporary restorations are used.
Maintains the Gums
Not only is it important to keep the surrounding teeth in a certain position to guarantee the fit of the final restoration, but it is also important that the gums fit the restoration as well. In order for the final restoration to look natural, the gums must be properly contoured around the restoration. Temporary restorations keep the natural gum contour so that they fit smoothly around the restoration.
Provides a Preview
While your temporary restoration will not be as aesthetically pleasing as your final restoration, modern temporaries are more aesthetic than they were in the past. This allows you to preview how your final restoration will look.
Overall, temporary restorations are an essential part of having a cosmetic dental restoration placed because they ensure the fit, maintain the gum contour, protect the tooth, maintain eating and speaking functions, and allow you to preview the final results. They are placed after your tooth has been prepared and are removed prior to placing your final restoration. Although you will only have your temporary restoration for about 1-2 weeks, this brief intermission will make all the difference for your new smile.
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.