Dental Implant Temporary Tooth
Dental implants are a popular solution used to replace one or more missing teeth. Key benefits of dental implants include their ability to appear and function just like a natural tooth. Implants are typically created from a titanium metal post which is secured in the jawbone. A dental crown is then placed on top of the implant and gives the solution a tooth-like appearance. The dental crown is custom-made to ensure it matches the other natural teeth.
Many patients are interested in receiving dental implants as a solution for their replacing missing teeth. The first step of the implant process is for the dentist to place the implant into the jaw bone. Prior to placing the crown or artificial tooth, the implant must heal and fuse to the jaw bone. During the healing process, patients are often concerned that they will be left with a missing tooth. This may be especially concerning of the missing tooth is located in the front of the mouth. Fortunately, there are numerous solutions available for patients to conceal their missing tooth while waiting for the implant area to completely heal.
In most cases, the dental implant procedure includes two main steps which require two separate procedures. The first procedure involves an oral surgeon drilling a small hole into the jawbone where the dental implant is to be placed. The area is then covered by the gum while the bone has time to heal and fuse to the implant. The second procedure includes the oral surgeon fitting a connector device onto the base of the implant. The crown or prosthetic tooth is then attached to the connector. Once both procedures are complete, patients are able to enjoy the implant which appears and function just like the natural tooth. The implant is also cared for just like the natural teeth. In some cases, additional procedures such as a bone graft may be required to complete the implant process.
A key component of a successful implant is that it fuses to the jaw bone. This process is also called osseointegration. As a result, it is critical to allow the body time to heal. In order to withstand the forces of chewing and endure the test of time, the implant must be completely healed and fused to the jaw bone. The healing time required for this step of the process will vary for each patient but typically takes a few months.
During the recovery time between the two procedures, many patients are curious regarding their options for a temporary tooth. For patients who are receiving an implant towards the back of the mouth, it may be less important as it is less visible. In cases where the implant is being placed in the front of the mouth or in a more visible location, some patients opt for a temporary tooth to hide the missing tooth. Patients have several temporary tooth options available. Additional details on some of the temporary solutions for concealing the missing tooth are provided below.
One common solution is a dental flipper which may also be called an acrylic removable partial denture. This option is similar to a temporary denture or retainer which contains a false tooth. Patients are not able to eat with a flipper in. In addition, the flipper must be removed nightly for cleaning.
Another option patients can use is a retainer. The retainer will cover all of the teeth and hide the gap from the missing tooth.
A temporary crown can also be used. The temporary crown is placed on the base of the implant and the patient is given specific instructions and restrictions which must be followed. Patients may be given the choice between a healing cap and a temporary crown. Many people find the temporary crown to be more attractive and it provides patients with a better idea of what the permanent crown will look like.
In some cases, an immediate temporary or permanent crown can be placed during or shortly after the implant placement procedure. Not all patients qualify as candidates for this option and it should be discussed with the dentist.
Temporary bridges can also be used to temporarily fill the gap of the missing tooth. A temporary bridge is typically acrylic. This solution involves using the adjacent teeth to bridge the space with an artificial tooth in between.
With a permanent dental bridge the surrounding teeth are disturbed, however this should not occur with a temporary bridge. The adjacent teeth simply act as anchors. The bridge will be removed once the implant has healed and can receive the crown. Temporary bridges allow patients to eat more easily as they are relatively sturdy.
Patients should discuss these temporary tooth replacement options with their dentist during the implant consultation.