What You Need to Know About Temporary Crowns If You Have Bruxism

If you have a large amount of decay in a tooth, your dentist may recommend a dental crown. Once your dentist removes the decayed enamel, he or she will then place a crown, or false tooth, over the remaining enamel to restore its shape and function. Crowns are great restorations because they protect the remaining enamel and help you avoid the possibility of tooth extraction.

If you've never had a crown placed before, you may be curious about all of the different steps. Some people may be surprised to learn that you won't receive your final crown at the first appointment. Your dentist will make an impression of the site and then send that impression to a dental lab where the final crown will be fabricated. In the interim, you'll need to wear a temporary crown. If you suffer from bruxism, you'll need to take extra good care of this temporary crown.

Why Is Bruxism Such a Problem for Temporary Crowns?

Permanent crowns are made of strong materials, such as porcelain or metal. Temporary crowns, on the other hand, are usually made of acrylic resins, and they are immediately made in the dental office instead of a dental lab. As you can imagine, it's easy for this type of material to fracture from the pressure of tooth grinding.

Why Does the Temporary Crown Matter if a Permanent One Is Being Fabricated?

First, a temporary crown is important because it protects the shaped enamel from further decay. After your dentist shapes the enamel, your tooth may be more sensitive to temperature changes, so the temporary crown can help you feel more comfortable when you eat or drink cold/hot foods and beverages. Arguably, the most important aspect of the temporary crown is that it acts as a placeholder for the final crown. You may be surprised to learn that your teeth can actually shift in a short amount of time if there's no temporary crown to hold the space. Any tooth shifting is a big problem because then the final crown may not fit correctly at your final appointment, so then your dentist would have to create another temporary crown and order a new permanent crown.

What Should You Do to Protect Your Temporary Crown?

Whether or not a patient has bruxism, it's a good idea to avoid chewing on the side with the temporary crown. Your dentist will give you a list of food items to avoid as well, such as sticky or hard foods that could dislodge the crown.

If you don't have a mouthguard already, you may want to get a custom mouthguard from your dentist before your crown procedure. Bruxism can be detrimental to your natural teeth, as well as the temporary crown, so wearing a mouthguard at night can be a good idea. If you don't have time or funds for a custom mouthguard, you should at least get a boil-and-bite mouthguard from a local grocery store. These types of mouthguards may typically be used for contact sports, but they can work just fine to protect a temporary crown from bruxism.

You may want to ask your dentist about Botox treatments before your appointment. Botox can relax the facial muscles involved in bruxism. One study found that Botox was a safe and effective treatment for those with severe bruxism.

Even if you do your best to protect the temporary crown, some people with severe bruxism may find that their temporary crown becomes loose or breaks anyway. This shouldn't be a problem as long as you let your dentist know right away. He or she can have you come into the office again and he or she will re-cement the temporary or make a new one. Again, you don't want to wait too long to go in since your teeth could shift and your dentist will have to order a new permanent crown from a dental lab.

Reach out to your dentist for more information about crown procedures and how to handle your bruxism during your treatment.