Provisional restorations, also called temporaries or “temps,” allow you to “preview” the final result of your cosmetic dental treatment. This allows you to make a more informed decision on how you want the final restoration to look in terms of size, shape, feel, color, and function.
In addition to being an important part of any smile reconstruction, temporaries also have other functions, including:
Temps help to save time and money by providing an accurate blueprint of what the final restoration will look and feel like so that there are no surprises when the restoration is in place, and no adjustments are necessary; it is easier to adjust the temporary acrylic resin of provisional restorations than to modify permanent restorations made of metal, ceramic, or metal-ceramic materials. They are used when crowns, bridges, inlays, onlays, and porcelain veneers are being made and sometimes even for removable partial dentures, complete dentures, and implant treatment. They are especially important when multiple teeth have been prepared or when cosmetic changes are planned.
Provisional restorations are worn for as little as a few days (short-term) up to several weeks (medium-term). For complex cases, such as a full mouth restoration, they are required for several months (long-term).
Temps can be made using one of two techniques. A direct technique is performed directly in the mouth by your dentist. An indirect technique utilizes impressions made of your mouth, which are sent to a dental laboratory to have the temps created. Once the restorations have been created, they are usually attached using provisional cement that is easier to remove than a permanent cement. There can be concerns with provisional restorations, including an uncomfortable feeling in the mouth, having the restorations fall out, having difficulty chewing with the restorations, and potentially developing bad breath, but with proper care, they can be a very beneficial tool in a dental treatment.