Dental Emergencies: Temporary Crown

What is a temporary crown?

A traditional dental crown is used to protect a damaged tooth or as a replacement tooth with a dental implant. However, it can take several weeks for it to be fabricated and sent back to the office for placement. Therefore, a temporary crown will be used.
If you need a crown for a tooth that has been treated with a root canal or has been damaged in any way, you will be given a temporary crown while you wait for the permanent one to be fabricated.
A temporary crown is typically made from metal or acrylic. Acrylic crowns can be made to match the surrounding natural teeth better than a metal one can. However, it’s important to keep in mind that it is temporary and will not match as well as your permanent one. Plus, it will not last nearly as long as your permanent one.

When is a temporary crown required?

In most situations, a temporary crown will be provided while you are waiting for the permanent one to be fabricated. It is designed to protect and restore the natural functioning of the tooth following root canal treatment or treatment of a broken tooth. It may also be used to restore appearance and functionality following a dental implant.

The temporary crown will:

  • Prevent sensitivity of the surrounding gums and affected tooth
  • Protect the natural tooth from decay
  • Allow you to eat normally
  • Avoid gaps between teeth
  • Prevent teeth from shifting to fill in gaps
  • Maintain oral health

Crown after root canal procedure or for a broken tooth

There are several reasons that you should get a crown following a root canal procedure. First of all, a crown restores the weak tooth. Root canals are invasive and rarely leave behind much of the healthy tooth structure. The tooth is weakened and a hole in your tooth isn’t good for your appearance either.
Second, research shows that approximately 10% of patients experience tooth sensitivity following a root canal. Teeth can become sensitive to heat, cold, pressure, acid, and sugar. However, a crown covers your tooth, protecting it from external sensitivity triggers.
Third, a crown is custom-made to blend in with your natural teeth, providing you with a more natural-looking smile. Most people won’t even notice that you have a crown. Plus, a crown is not affected by bacteria and decay, which means your smile lasts longer.
Fourth, a root canal exposes the tooth to infection, which is often referred to as a failed root canal. However, a crown can protect the tooth from exposure to elements that can cause infection, which helps you avoid extraction.
Finally, a crown keeps your tooth healthy and functional by holding the fragmented pieces together to prevent further damage and deterioration.

Caring for a Temporary Dental Crown

While a temporary crown isn’t designed to last long, it’s important to take steps to take care of it. Therefore, keep the following in mind when you have a temporary crown:

Avoid hard/sticky foods

You can chew normally with a temporary crown- but it’s best to avoid foods that are hard or sticky, such as apples, hard candy, caramel, gum, and nuts.

Say no to sugar

It’s always a good idea to avoid sugary foods for your oral and overall health. However, it’s even more critical when you have a temporary crown. This is because in some cases, there is a gap between the crown and your gums that sugar can get into.

Avoid extremely hot/cold foods and beverages

If you consume extremely hot or cold foods and beverages, the temporary cement may come loose and cause the crown to fall out.

Dental Hygiene Tips

You should brush and floss your teeth as you normally would, taking extra care around the crown to avoid dislodging it. You may also want to consider using a water flosser instead of string floss, as the string can catch on the edge of the crown and loosen it.

What To Do If Your Temporary Crown Fell Off

When you have a root canal or dental implant, the permanent crown may take a week or more to create because it’s such a labor-intensive process to match it to the rest of your teeth. Therefore, the dentist will place a temporary crown as a placeholder. If your temporary crown falls off, it’s important that you don’t panic. After all, it is temporary, not meant to last forever. They are there to protect the tooth or the implant site and to allow you to lead a somewhat normal life until the permanent one can be placed. However, even though it is not made to last, it is still important that you contact your dentist if your temporary crown falls off. While you are waiting to see the dentist to have your temporary crown fixed, there are some things you can do:
  • Recover: If the temporary crown is intact and in good shape, you should be able to place it back in place. But you should call your dentist to be seen as soon as possible to have it bonded back in place. If it is chipped/cracked, remove the broken pieces and rinse your mouth to remove any particles left behind.
  • Rinse: Gently rinse it with warm water, whether it’s in good shape or bad. If it’s damaged to the point that you cannot reattach it, put it in a plastic container and bring it with you to your appointment.
  • Check tooth and cover with orthodontic wax to protect your mouth from the sharp edges of the dental cement - if you can’t replace the crown yourself.
  • If it comes off, try to replace it with Vaseline, a temporary cement, or denture adhesive. However, make sure to remove the temporary when eating/sleeping so that you don’t swallow or inhale it.
  • If you can replace the temporary crown yourself, get some dental cement from the drug store and follow the instructions on the package to adhere the temporary crown to the original tooth or implant post.
  • Keep your mouth clean until you can get to the dentist to have the temporary re-cemented or the permanent one is placed.

How much does a temporary crown cost?

Typically, a dental crown costs $500 to $3,000. The cost of the temporary crown is built into this cost. You will not be required to pay extra for it since it is not made to last. Since a crown is considered “medically necessary”, most dental insurance plans will cover a portion of treatment. Our office staff will work with your dental insurance provider to determine your coverage.
We will provide you with a quote detailing your portion during your consultation visit. We can also explain our various financing options to help you pay for your treatment. We believe that everyone deserves access to necessary dental treatments and will work with you to create a treatment plan based on your needs and budget.

If you are in or near Salt Lake City, Utah, contact Legacy Dental for your dental emergencies. Our normal office hours are Monday to Thursday 8 AM to 8 PM, Friday 8 AM to 5 PM and Saturday 8 AM to 2 PM. However, we understand that dental emergencies can happen at any time, so we do have an emergency contact schedule for our patients so that we can treat your dental issues immediately. Call us to receive dental care as soon as possible to re-cement your temporary crown.

  • ‘‘Legacy Dental has taken excellent care of my family for many years. Their attention to detail, inviting atmosphere, and genuine care for and relationship with each of their patients is exceptional. I highly recommend Dr. Campbell and his team!’’

    Dave R. (Legacy Dental Patient)

How to reach us in and around Salt Lake City, Utah

Monday: 8.00am – 8:00pm
Tuesday: 8.00am – 8:00pm
Wednesday: 8.00am – 8:00pm
Thursday: 8.00am – 8:00pm
Friday: 8.00am – 5:00pm
Saturday: 8.00am – 2:00pm
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