Dental Implant Temporary Tooth
Dental implants are one of the best ways to replace a missing tooth! Implants act just like a natural tooth with a root and help support bone structure. A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically implanted directly into the jaw bone with a porcelain implant crown fixed onto the implant. Dental implants can also support a partial or full bridge with porcelain crowns fabricated to match your remaining natural teeth. Implants are one of the more costly restorative options but they can easily last a lifetime so the time and cost may be worth it in the long run.
How are dental implants placed?
An oral surgeon or periodontist is the dental professional that will place your dental implant. A local anesthetic is administered in the area being treated and a small incision is made in the gum tissue to access the bone. A small hole is then drilled into the jawbone and the titanium implant post is screwed into the jaw bone. For patients that do not have a sufficient amount of bone structure, a bone graft can be performed to maximize bone volume and provide a stable foundation for the implant.
Once the implant is in place, they will stitch up the gum tissue, leaving a small portion of the implant exposed above the gum. A temporary abutment, called a healing cap, is then placed on the implant to protect it while you heal. Healing time for dental implants can be up to six months to allow the implant to fuse with the bone, called osseointegration. If a bone graft is needed, it has to heal before the implant can be placed which can take up to two months.
After your implant has healed and integrated, your dentist will place the implant restoration. This can be a single implant crown for one tooth or even a full or partial denture, which will require multiple implants.
During Implant Healing
While your implant heals, you will have a temporary tooth that will not only fill the space to give you the appearance of a tooth but will also act as an additional form of protection for the implant. There are a couple of options for your temporary tooth replacement including a flipper, an essix, a temporary bridge, or an immediate temporary crown.
- Flipper denture: This type of temporary tooth is made of acrylic and looks like a Hawley retainer with a fake tooth attached to fill the space. A flipper is removable and should be taken out when eating, sleeping, and oral hygiene.
- Essix retainer: An essix is another retainer type temporary but made from a thin, clear plastic that fits over the entire arch of teeth with a composite material in the space for your artificial tooth. This one should also be removed for eating, sleeping, and oral hygiene.
- Temporary bridge: Your dentist can also fabricate a bridge that affixes to the teeth on either side of the space, joined together with a fake tooth to fill the space. While this option is cemented in place, your dentist will use temporary cement for easy removal. You will not take out your temporary bridge until your dentist does to place your permanent restoration.
- Immediate temporary crown: A provisional crown can be placed on your implant and is often used on the front teeth which give the patient the appearance of a tooth and allows the gum tissue to heal around the temporary in preparation for the permanent implant crown.
For patients that have worn a denture and are now having implants placed, they may be able to wear their denture as usual while they heal. Not everyone is a candidate for each type of temporary restoration so your dentist will discuss your options with you and together, you can decide which one will be best for your individual case and lifestyle.
Dental implants take some time to complete but the comfort and stability that comes along with them makes it worth the effort. If you need to have one or more teeth replaced, speak with your dentist to determine if you are a candidate for dental implants and work out a treatment plan together.