Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Temporary Restorations

An acrylic temporary restoration
Many of us find temporary restorations to be a big pain in the buttocks. Dentists and patients dislike them equally. There are many instances when a temporary restoration can be avoided. However, we often find that a temporary restoration must be placed and must last for at least a couple of weeks. I will make a few comments that may be helpful.

It is imperative that a permanent restoration be placed as soon as possible--usually within a couple of weeks. I do not advocate longer periods of time. The longer the period, the more likely issues will arise.

Temporary restorations can be made from various materials. In 2012, the most common method to make temporary restorations is to make them with tooth colored bis-acrylic which is very similar to the materials used in acrylic finger nails.

Bis-acrylic is the most aesthetic option. However, there is a drawback to this material. It is very weak and susceptible to fracture. It is also porous and after a short period of time may become discolored. This is especially true when certain foods and drinks are consumed such as red wine, coffee and tea.

A metal temporary restoration
Metals of various types can also be used. These are fairly strong and resilient, but obviously are not very aesthetic.

One problem that is likely regardless of the type of material used is that it may simply come off. Sometimes the length and shape of the tooth may make it a challenge to keep a temporary restoration on. Sticky foods such as taffy, gum, caramel and Tootsie Rolls can also displace temporary restorations. Also, when flossing, it is advisable to slide the floss gently through and out rather than upward since this can also displace the temporary restoration.

If the temporary restoration comes out you may just simply replace it back on the tooth. If it doesn't stay on, a denture adhesive such as Fixodent or tooth paste can be placed inside of it and it should provide adequate retention. If you have difficulty replacing it or keeping it in place, contact your dental office and they should be able to help you with it. Even then, some temporary restorations are incredibly difficult to keep in place such as veneers and onlays.

Another potential problem is tooth sensitivity. Temporary restorations are not held in place with a permanent cement. Therefore, there may be exposed tooth structure that can be very sensitive to cold, air, sweets and touch.

Do not hesitate to contact your dentist or his team if you have any questions or concerns with a temporary restoration.

Once the permanent restorations are placed, these issues are typically resolved. If not, it may need to be investigated further to determine if there are any other causative factors.

Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit

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