One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “What material do you use to fabricate your provisional restorations?” There are many different provisional materials that can be used to fabricate provisional restorations (methyl methacrylate, ethyl methacrylate, light cured resin, bisacryl) and they can all be made to look esthetic. The material I have used for the last 15 years is a bisacryl material (Protemp Plus, 3M ESPE). Although many important factors are involved in making esthetic provisionals, it mainly comes down to “contour” and “polish.” (See Fig. 1) In this article I will discuss how to polish the provisional restorations.

The polish of the provisional is the final step in the fabrication process. Although there are numerous techniques that can be used to achieve a nice polish, I tend to keep it very simple and follow just two steps.

Step One: After completion of all contour modifications, the first step in my polishing sequence is to use pumice and a rag wheel on a lathe. The pumice I prefer is medium grade from Kerr (No. 3). The lathe is set on “slow” speed with a wet rag wheel and slurry of pumice (See Fig. 2). The pressure is light to moderate. After the pumice I will clean and dry the provisional so I can better evaluate the surface. If there are areas that are still unpolished, I either repeat step one or I’ll use a knife edge yellow rubber wheel for selective polishing (Brassler, AcrylPro Acrylic Polisher BR01)(See Fig. 3).

Fig. 2
rubber wheel
Fig. 3

Step Two: After pumicing is complete, then a clean, dry rag wheel is used on the lathe for the high shine. I use Universal Polishing past from Ivoclar (See Fig. 4) with the lathe set on high speed. A small amount of polishing past is applied to the provisional itself and using light pressure, the provisional is polished. Once completed, the provisional can be cleaned with a toothbrush and alcohol prior to placing in the patient’s mouth. Although there are other techniques and materials that can be used, I find that by following these two basic and simple steps I can achieve predictably esthetic provisional restorations.

Fig. 4

Source Kinzer, GA. Modern Concepts in Provisionalization. Inside Dentistry (supplement) 2013, 9(1):6-9

Gregg Kinzer, D.D.S., M.S., Spear Faculty and Contributing Author