When you have a dental crown made, it is generally made in a laboratory. The tooth is shaved down all around, and then an impression is taken. The impression is sent to a dental lab where your permanent crown will be made according to the dentist's prescription. Meanwhile, your tooth needs to be covered with something or it will be very sensitive.
Here is a picture of a temporary crown made out of acrylic. They can also be made with an aluminum shell.
Then it is cemented with a weak cement. It is important that the temporary not be too durable or too strong, because it needs to be removed easily when it is time for the permanent crown.
Functions of a temporary crown:
- It needs to cover the tooth to prevent sensitivity. If any of the dentin of a live tooth is exposed, air, cold, and sweets can be painful. Continued exposure over a week or more could permanently damage a tooth to where is may even need a root canal treatment, so covering it is important. Click here to read more about root canal treatment.
- It needs to touch the teeth on either side of the tooth receiving the crown, and it needs to occlude with the opposing tooth. Without this contact, the tooth will move between appointments and the crown won't fit.
- It helps keep the gums healthy between appointments. If the temporary crown has normal tooth contours, it keeps the gums in their natural position, which keeps them from being overly irritated.
If you are having a Cerec crown, it is placed the same day the tooth is prepared, and there is no need for a temporary.
Read Dr. Hall's blog postings about dental crowns.