A temporary crown is a tooth shaped cap cemented on your natural tooth in order to protect it while waiting for your permanent crown to be made and placed. Temporary crowns are made from either metal or plastic (usually an acrylic based plastic or stainless steel), neither of which hold much economic value because temporary crowns are not meant to be worn for more than a few weeks.
If your dentist has scheduled you for a crown or bridge placement, you will likely need to have a temporary crown placed over your tooth before having the permanent crown cemented.
While you are waiting for the permanent crown, a temporary crown will protect your tooth and allow you to eat normally. Temporary crowns are more fragile than permanent crowns, so some extra care is needed when you have one. Below are some tips for taking care of your temporary crown.
Be Mindful of What You Eat
Temporary crowns are held in place with cement, but it’s not as firm as the cement used for permanent crowns – after all, your dentist will need to be able to easily remove it in a few weeks in order to put the permanent crown in place.
Avoid chewing in the side of your mouth where the temporary crown is located. Additionally, you should avoid sticky or hard foods that might crack the crown or pull it out of your mouth. This includes things like chewing on ice, gum, or even hard or chewy breads among other things.
Don’t Neglect Brushing and Flossing
You may be tempted to avoid brushing and flossing around the tooth with the temporary crown, but resist the temptation. The seal is not as tight as it would be on a permanent crown. Food particles or bacteria could get underneath the temporary crown and cause cavities on the prepared tooth. Normal brushing and flossing should not be enough to dislodge the crown but still exercise some caution and do not brush or floss too vigorously.
A tip from our dentist: Try to pull the floss down between the teeth to clean the area. When finished flossing, let go of one end of the floss and pull it out from the side rather than trying to bring the floss back up between the teeth.
What to do if the Temporary Crown Falls Off
If your temporary crown pops off, try gently sliding it back in place. If you can’t, or if you lose the temporary crown, contact your dentist to have the crown replaced.
Don’t try to finish out the time until your permanent crown placement without the temporary crown in place. Not only will the tooth underneath be sensitive to cold and hot temperatures (potentially painful without it), your tooth might also move without the temporary crown to stabilize it. This could cause problems when it’s time to place the permanent crown.
Don’t Put Off Your Next Dental Appointment
Temporary crowns are designed to only last for a short amount of time, so it’s important to keep your next appointment to have the permanent crown put in place. You should not have the temporary crown for more than two or three weeks.
If you have questions about temporary crowns, don’t hesitate to bring your concerns up to your dentist. If you’re in need of crowns or other dental work, call your preferred location or request an appointment online today.