When a tooth is compromised by decay or trauma, dental crowns can help to restore the structural integrity of the tooth and protect it against further decay. It is common practice for dentists to first place a temporary crown over a tooth. This adds a layer of protection and also ensures the quality of a patient's smile doesn't suffer in the meantime. In most cases, patients wear temporary crowns for no more than 2-3 weeks. Once the laboratory has completed the permanent porcelain, zirconia, or gold crown, the temporary can be removed and replaced with the more permanent solution.

However, for various reasons, such as lack of funds, work responsibilities, or simple forgetfulness, some patients begin to treat their temporary crown as if it were a permanent crown. This is inadvisable for several reasons.

The Materials Used for Temporaries Are Inferior

Although it isn't unheard of for a well-made temporary crown to last for years, you should bear in mind that temporaries are composed of much weaker materials than permanent crowns. Acrylic or stainless steel is inferior to porcelain, zirconia, or gold, and unless you refrain from chewing on hard foods such as nuts, popcorn, and boiled sweets, it won't be long before it falls off.

If the temporary crown falls off or breaks, you can attempt to glue it back on with some temporary cement or dental wax. However, the natural tooth underneath will now be exposed to bacteria.

Your Temporary Could Come Off at Any Time

Dentists use a weaker form of cement to hold temporary crowns in place. This allows them to remove the temporary with little fuss so that the permanent crown can be placed. Over time, this temporary cement breaks down eventually causing the crown to dislodge and fall off. If it happens whilst eating, you could swallow it.

Whilst a swallowed dental crown is usually harmless, it now means your tooth is in danger of suffering further damage.

Bacteria May Gain Access to the Tooth

Even while your temporary crown is still on, temporaries are prone to leakage. This means that because of the weaker cement used, bacteria gain access to the natural tooth beneath the crown via the gap between the crown and natural tooth. If you keep wearing your temporary crown for months or even years then, when the crown finally comes off, you may find that there is nothing left of the natural tooth. The only option then is to have the root extracted to prevent infection. Then you will have to choose to go without a tooth, get a partial denture, or invest in a dental implant.

Don't treat temporary crowns like permanent solutions. Doing so could cost you a lot of money in the long run and lead to further dental issues.