Objective The aim of this investigation was to compare clinical performance and in vitro wear of temporary CAD/CAM and cartridge crowns. This study is an approach to estimate the influence of in vivo use and laboratory simulation on temporary crowns. Materials and methods A total of 90 crowns were fabricated from each temporary CAD/CAM or cartridge material. Also, 10 crowns of each material were clinically applied for 14 days, and 80 identical duplicate restorations were investigated in the laboratory after storage in water (14 days; 37 degrees C) and subsequent thermal cycling and mechanical loading (TCML, 240.000 x 50N ML, 600 x 5 degrees C/55 degrees C). After in vivo application or in vitro aging, facture force, superficial wear (mean and maximum), surface roughness (Ra, Rz), thermal weight loss (TGA), and heat of reaction (DSC) were determined for all crowns. Statistics: Bonferroni post hoc test; one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA);alpha = 0.05). Results The fracture resistance of the temporary materials varied between 1196.4 (CAD in vivo) and 1598.3 N (cartridge crown in vitro). Mean (maximum) wear data between 204.7 (386.7 mu m; cartridge in vitro) and 353.0 mu m (621.8 mu m; CAD in vitro) were found. Ra values ranged between 4.4 and 4.9 mu m and Rz values between 36.0 and 40.8 mu m. DSC and TG analysis revealed small differences between the materials but a strong influence of the aging process. Conclusions Comparison of in vivo and in vitro aging led to no significant differences in fracture force and wear but differences in roughness, DSC, and TGA. SEM evaluation confirmed comparability. Comparison of CAD/CAM and cartridge temporary materials partially showed significant differences.