Definition & Overview

A temporary restoration is a dental composite, bridge, crown, or filling used until permanent, restorative dental work is carried out. These temporary materials are also known as temps or provisional restorations.

In some cases, dental prostheses may take some time to be created and placed. In such instances, temporary restorations are used to provide protection for the affected tooth by covering any dentin or nerve from being exposed and suffering further damage. These temps also help maintain the shape of the face and enables patients to speak and eat normally.

Also, having temporary restoration allows patients to get a needed preview before any permanent dental work is being done. This way, they can be assured the new dental prosthetics are comfortable to use and looks as natural as possible.

This process also helps dentists to easily make the needed adjustments to efficiently achieve the desired look and feel in fabricating the permanent restoration material.

Examples of temporary restorations are pre-formed metal or plastic crowns, resins, resin composites, and cements.

Who Should Undergo and Expected Results

The procedure is for:

  • Patients waiting for the final restoration work being done on their teeth and those who wish to have their teeth fitted with inlays and porcelain veneers
  • Patients who require a dental crown or dental bridge attached. In this case, the dentist can use acrylic resin materials that are easy to modify before creating the more permanent restoration using metal or ceramic materials. Temporary crowns or veneers are used to cover a tooth that has already been shaped and contoured in preparation for the permanent prosthesis.
  • Patients with several teeth that need to be repaired - The creation of permanent restoration involving several teeth usually takes time. In such cases, temporary caps or protection are advisable to reduce sensitivity and maintain normal dental functions.

Depending on the type of restorative dental procedures needed, a temporary restoration can last for several months to a year. This serves to prepare the patient for the look and feel of any dental work they wish to achieve. The majority of patients are satisfied with the procedure, as they don’t need to suffer unnecessary discomfort while waiting for the permanent work. They can also proceed in performing their daily tasks and duties without the embarrassment of having a broken or missing tooth.

How is the Procedure Performed?

The procedure of placing temporary restoration starts with the cleaning of the affected teeth. Some parts of the teeth may be contoured or reshaped to make room for the prostheses.

Making temporary restoration can be performed using the following techniques:

  • Direct technique - This requires the dentist to put in the restoration material directly into the affected tooth. The composite material is then added into the tooth until a near-normal appearance is achieved. If there is a need, the dentist may also place a temporary dental crown or bridge to prevent any further damage and to preserve the integrity of the entire dental placement.
  • Indirect technique – This requires the dentist to make an impression of the affected tooth, which will be sent to a laboratory where the temporary restorations will be made. These restorations are then attached to the teeth and remain in place using temporary cement.

Possible Risks and Complications

There are little complications reported with the use of temporary restoration. The patient may feel uncomfortable during the first few days of using them and some rough surfaces may cause the tongue to become sensitive.

Meanwhile, some patients report sensitivity to cold or hot temperature, especially if the provisional restoration has not been fitted well.

One of the most common complaints following the fitting of temporary restoration is its tendency to become detached. To avoid dislodging a temporary dental crown or bridge, patients have to avoid eating hard and sticky food.


  • American Dental Association
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