The scope of temporization goes beyond the protection of the prepared tooth. Maintenance of tooth position as well as gingival health and position surrounding the preparation during the provisional phase are just as important for optimal results. These conditions provide the ideal environment for the esthetic evaluation and eventual cementation of the final restoration.
One of the key elements in providing for a successful provisional stage is the choice of temporary cement. This choice plays a significant role in determining the condition of the tooth and gingival health at the time of final cementation. An ideal temporary cement should be strong enough to resist the forces of mastication to ensure that the provisional crown or bridge remains in place from the time of preparation until the appointment for the final restoration. However, this retention should be balanced with the ability of the temporary as well as the temporary cement, to be removed with little effort when necessary. Having the temporary in stable position during the provisional phase ensures that the position of the prepared teeth remains identical in the final impression, minimizing any insertion adjustments.
An ideal temporary cement should be non-irritating to the prepared tooth as well as the adjacent gingival margin. This temporary cement should also soothe the freshly prepared tooth while providing bacteriostatic properties to prevent gingival inflammation, maintaining a healthy and esthetic environment for final cementation. Furthermore, the temporary cement should not interfere with your ability to cement or bond the final restoration in any manner you may choose.
Besides meeting these requirements as it relates to the material’s physical properties, the ideal temporary cement should be easy and predictable to mix chair side with an adequate working time and a relatively short set time. Additionally, any excess cement around the provisional restoration must be easily and completely removed. This is essential to not only save valuable chair time, but to prevent small residual particles of temporary cement left near or in the gingival sulcus. The presence of such particles poses a risk of forming inter-appointment gingival inflammation, something that can be detrimental to the successful delivery of the final restoration.