Why Do I Need a Temporary Restoration?

Do you know what a temporary restoration is? Most people don’t, but it’s a very common part of many dental procedures. A temporary restoration is a type of dental restoration that is used on a tooth until a permanent restoration can be placed. This type of restoration is made of different materials, depending on the reason why it is needed. In this blog post, we will discuss the purpose of temporary restorations and why they are so important in dentistry.

What are temporary restorations?

As the name suggests, these are dental restoration that are not intended to be permanent. They are usually made of different materials than what will be used for the final restoration. This is because they only need to last for 1-2 weeks until the permanent restoration has been fabricated by a dental lab.

Model of tooth root and implant

Temporary, or provisional, restorations are needed when you are having an indirect restoration placed. Indirect dental restorations refer to those that are made outside of the mouth (in a dental lab) and then cemented or bonded into place. This includes crowns, bridges, veneers, inlays, and onlays.

When you have an indirect restoration placed, your tooth will need to be prepared first. This involves removing some of the tooth structure to make room for the restoration. Once the tooth is prepared and a dental impression has been taken, a temporary restoration is placed to protect the tooth and gums while the dental lab fabricates your permanent restoration.

Why Temporary Restorations are Needed:

At this point, you may be wondering why your dentist would go through the trouble of making you a temporary restoration to wear for only 1-2 weeks when they already have plans to place a permanent restoration. Believe it or not, there are a multitude of reasons for why temporary restorations are necessary. These reasons include:

Reserve the Space

The first reason is that provisional restorations help to reserve the space for the permanent restoration. When a tooth is prepared for an indirect restoration, the tooth structure is removed. This can cause the surrounding teeth to shift over time if there is nothing holding that space open. Placing a temporary in the space helps to keep everything in its rightful place until the permanent restoration can be placed. That way the permanent restoration will fit seamlessly into the space, which will ensure a natural appearance and proper function.

3d rendering two teeth with space between


Another reason temporary restorations are used is for protection. When a tooth is prepared for an indirect restoration, the exposed tooth structure is more susceptible to decay and fracture. This is especially the case when excess enamel has been removed and/or the dentin layer of the tooth is exposed. Placing a provisional restoration helps to protect the prepared tooth from these risks. Provisional restorations also cover the tooth to prevent bacteria from entering the tooth and causing a pulp infection.

Allows for Proper Eating and Speaking

Temporary restorations also allow you to eat and speak properly following tooth preparation. This is because the restoration replaces any of the missing tooth structure, so that your tooth will continue to function as it did before. Otherwise, you would be left with a fraction of your natural tooth structure, which would make eating and speaking difficult and possibly uncomfortable. Changes in the size and shape of teeth can also change the way air flows through the mouth during speech and lead to speech impediments. All these potential complications are prevented by using a provisional restoration.

Senior athletic woman eating apple

Maintain the Gum Line

Another reason for provisional restorations is that they help to maintain the gum line. When a tooth is prepared for an indirect restoration, the gum tissue around the tooth can recede. This is because the removal of tooth structure alters the support that the tooth provides to the gums. Placing a provisional restoration helps to provide support to the gums and prevent them from further recession. Just as the temporary restoration reserves the necessary space for the permanent restoration, it also preserves the contour of the gums. This is important because the gums need to “fit” over the restoration properly to give it a natural appearance and prevent bacteria from accumulating within the gum pockets.

Provide a Preview

Lastly, temporary restorations provide a preview of what the final restoration will look and feel like. This is beneficial for both the dentist and patient. For the dentist, it allows them to make any necessary changes to the shape or size of the restoration before it is finalized. For the patient, it gives them an idea of how their smile will look once the restoration is in place. This way, any necessary changes can be made to the appearance of the restoration before it is finalized. However, it is important to note that the permanent restorations are made from higher-quality materials, so they will have a more natural appearance than the temporary restoration.

Dental bridge on teeth model

Caring for a Temporary Restoration

Although your temporary restoration is only meant to stay in place for a few weeks, it is important that you care for it properly so that it will remain in place. As with any restoration, proper oral hygiene is essential for keeping a temporary in good condition. This means brushing and flossing at least twice a day, as well as using a mouthwash that contains fluoride.

It is also important to avoid biting down on hard objects, as this can cause the temporary to break or chip. You will also want to avoid chewy or sticky foods that can pull the temporary restoration off the tooth. In most cases, it is recommended to avoid chewing on the same side as the temporary restoration. If the temporary does break or come loose, it is important to contact your dentist so that they can make the necessary repairs. In some cases, they may need to replace a damaged temporary restoration or they may simply remove the restoration.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are many reasons why provisional or temporary restorations are needed following tooth preparation. These restorations help to reserve the space for the permanent restoration, protect the prepared tooth, allow for proper eating and speaking, maintain the gum line, and provide a preview of the final restoration. If you have any questions about provisional restorations or any other dental topic, feel free to reach out to us! We are always happy to help.

Middle age man smiling with friends

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