Updated on February 22, 2024
4 min read

What to Do if Your Temporary Crowns Look Bad

NewMouth is reader supported. We may earn a commission if you purchase something using one of our links. Advertising Disclosure.

A temporary dental crown is a cap placed over your tooth while you wait for a permanent crown. Conventional dental crowns take a few weeks to manufacture in a lab. Your dentist will install a temporary version to protect your tooth during that time.

Infographic of human in dental crown illustration

Because you only wear them briefly, temporary crowns aren’t as high-quality as their permanent counterparts. They may not look like a natural part of your smile.

The good news is that temporary crowns are just that: temporary. You’ll only have to wear them for 2 to 3 weeks before you get your permanent crown. Permanent dental crowns are custom-made to fit your tooth and look like a natural part of your mouth. 

What to Do if Your Temporary Crown Looks Bad

If you hate the way your temporary crown looks, call your dentist. However, fixing a temporary crown usually involves additional steps and significantly higher costs. 

image 7

Here are some tips for what to do if you don’t like your temporary crown:

Ask for a Diagnostic Wax-Up

During your initial consultation, talk to your dentist about a diagnostic wax-up. A diagnostic wax-up lets you see a preview of what your permanent crown will look like in a wax form.

The procedure involves your dentist sending an initial mold to the lab. They’ll send back a mock-up of your crown’s appearance so you can make adjustments. It can also help your dentist decide how much tooth reduction you’ll need.4

When you order the wax-up, you can also ask for temporary crowns to be made by the laboratory. Remember that the diagnostic wax-up and lab-fabricated temporary crowns will increase your wait time and cost. 

Talk to Your Dentist

The way your temporary crown looks may make you nervous. If you’re concerned about your permanent crown’s appearance, speak to your dentist.

Your permanent crown will typically be of much higher quality than the temporary crown. It’s custom-made to fit you and match your natural shade.

Discuss possible results with your dentist if you’re concerned about what to expect.

Wait It Out

The good news is that temporary crowns will only be in place for a few weeks. Even if your temporary crown looks horrible, it won’t last forever. Your permanent crown will look much better.

If you don’t want to add extra time and money to your crown process, wait until it’s time to replace the temporary crowns.

What Does a Temporary Crown Look Like?

Temporary crowns look like the tooth they are replacing. They may be digitally fabricated, or your dentist or the dental assistant may make a temporary crown chairside in their office.1

Most temporary crowns consist of materials like acrylic, plastic, or resin. They are weaker than permanent crowns, so properly caring for them is essential.

Does a Temporary Crown Look Natural?

Yes, a temporary crown should look natural. They are made with a tooth-colored material to mimic your natural teeth. 

image 6

However, not all temporary crowns are custom-made, so the color may not match your natural shade exactly. The fit may be flawed, too. Your dentist will likely know this, but your permanent crown should look more natural.

Even though they might not look exactly like your surrounding teeth, temporary crowns shouldn’t be too noticeable. Unless someone looks at your teeth up close, they likely won’t be able to spot a temporary crown.

Who Needs a Temporary Crown?

You will need a temporary crown if you are having your permanent crown made by a laboratory.   

Part of getting a crown involves removing or reshaping your tooth. A temporary crown protects the exposed tooth from damage until your dentist installs the permanent one.

Temporary vs. Permanent Crown

Though temporary crowns are a placeholder for permanent crowns, the two aren’t exactly alike. 

You should only wear temporary crowns for a few weeks, whereas permanent crowns can last an average of 6 years or more.

While temporary crowns are made of a weaker material, permanent crowns are more durable. The material your dentist chooses depends on which tooth it’s replacing.2 They’re usually made of:

  • Ceramic or porcelain
  • Metal
  • Composite resin

Permanent dental crowns are custom-made in a lab to match your teeth. Studies show around 90% of dental crowns last for at least 6 years.3


A temporary crown is a placeholder while waiting for your permanent crown. Your dentist may fabricate temporary crowns in their office or have them on hand.

Because it isn’t a custom shade, a temporary crown may not completely match your natural teeth. However, it should still look similar in size and shape to your other teeth. 

You may not like how your temporary crown looks. However, you’ll only wear it for a few weeks before you get your permanent one. You can talk to your dentist about getting a diagnostic wax-up of your crowns, though it will take longer and cost more.

Last updated on February 22, 2024
4 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 22, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Abdullah, A., et al. “Comparison between direct chairside and digitally fabricated temporary crowns.” Dental Materials Journal, National Library of Medicine, 2018.
  2. Makhija, S., et al. “Dentist Material Selection for Single-Unit Crowns: Findings from The National Dental Practice-Based Research Network.” Journal of Dentistry, National Library of Medicine, 2017.
  3. Raedel, M., et al. “Six-year survival of single crowns – A massive data analysis.” Journal of Dentistry, National Library of Medicine, 2020.
  4. Villalobos-TInoco, J., et al. “Additive Wax-Up and Diagnostic Mockup As Driving Tools for Minimally Invasive Veneer Preparations.” Cureus, National Library of Medicine, 2022.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram