Post-operative Care and Information for Provisional (Temporary) Restorations


Your new "temporaries" or provisional restorations have been fabricated specifically for you to satisfy esthetics, form, function, comfort, and speech. The provisional should be thought of as a prototype restoration to be modified as needed and the information used in the fabrication of the final restoration. They are much more than just something to be worn for a few weeks until the final restorations are completed. They stabilize your bite, keep the teeth in proper position, facilitate soft tissue health, protect the teeth from sensitivity and decay, and provide a preview of what the final restoration will look and feel like. They must also be cared for - failure to do so can result in a less than optimal final outcome.

What to expect the first day

Provisional restorations are generally made from acrylic or composite. They will feel different than your own natural teeth or porcelain crowns that you may have been used to wearing. At times, they will be thicker than your own teeth because the material needs more thickness to be prevent fracturing. Mild cold and mild biting sensitivity is a normal occurrence. Occasional cheek, lip, or tongue biting is normal as well as minor lisping as the contours of the provisional are never identical to the natural tooth contours. Your gum tissue may be irritated for 24-48 hours. You may rinse with salt water (1/3 tsp per 16 ounces of warm water) 2-3 times per day. If you have no contraindications, Advil (200mg 3 times daily) will decrease discomfort and inflammation.

What to expect over time

After a short accommodation period, you should be fairly comfortable with your provisional restorations. Slight staining or discoloration of the material is normal particularly if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or wine. Provisional restorations should never be worn indefinitely without supervision - this can lead to decay, infection, gum irritation and recession, and tooth loss.

Daily Maintenance

  1. Tooth brushing - two times/day. Place your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to your gums putting enough pressure to just blanch the tissue, "jiggle" the toothbrush with your concentration at the gum line. Move the toothbrush to the next area and continue.
  2. Floss - Place floss between your teeth and feel the floss rub against the entire side of the roots. Remove the floss by pulling one end straight through between the teeth. If you remove floss by pulling up or down, you can dislodge the provisional since it is on with a weaker temporary cement. Use bridge threaders, proxybrushes, or other professional aids to clean under joined provisionals.

The above routine is very important to keep your gums and teeth healthy during treatment. Mistakenly, many believe that daily home care is not necessary while in provisionals. In fact, plaque accumulation leads to inflammation of the gum tissue which can lead to gum irritation and recession.

Preventing Damage

Although you can eat a relatively normal diet, avoiding hard or chewy foods will decrease the likelihood of the provisional coming out or fracturing. If possible favor chewing on the other side to prevent fracturing or dislodgement.

Please call our office if:

  1. The provisional comes out, loosens, or breaks. If the provisional is left out, the underlying teeth and opposing teeth may shift necessitating more preparation and new impressions. A portion of your own tooth that was being protected could also potentially fracture.
  2. There is moderate to severe tooth or gum discomfort
  3. You have any questions or concerns