Dental Implant Temporary Tooth
When you are awaiting a dental implant, it can leave a bad space in your mouth. There is no need to leave that empty gap in your smile though, because modern Dentistry has many options for temporary teeth.
The Dental Implant Procedure
When you have a dental implant procedure, it will come in two phases after your initial assessment with your implant team.
- First the surgeon will drill and place the anchor implant.
- Then some time will pass so the gum can set the anchor in your jaw. The healing time will vary but can take as long as 6 months for the anchor to set and the jaw to adjust. You may also need to have a healing cap placed in the newly set anchor, or you may have a temporary crown placed.
- On the second procedure the abutment will be placed into your re-exposed anchor. The abutment is the piece that allows the crown to attach to the anchor, once it is in place, your new dental implant can be safely secured, and your smile is back in business.
In the short time between your anchor being placed and your implant being set, you may opt to have a temporary tooth option, particularly if it is in the front of your mouth. You have several options to discuss with your Dentist, Dental Surgeon, and Dental Hygienist. The options will be affected by the health of your remaining teeth, the health of your gums, your jaw health, and your coverage options. Make sure to consult with your team and your insurance provider to learn about your choices.
- Acrylic removable partial denture- This is a removable retainer of sorts with one false tooth attached. It will anchor itself in the roof of your mouth.
- Essix Retainer- This is a nice, convenient option that sort of resembles an invisalign. It is a clear plastic like retainer that covers your remaining teeth and fills in the gap left by your anchor implant.
- Temporary bridge- Bridge materials vary, but temporary ones are often acrylic. This is a typical dental bridge which allows the false tooth or teeth to fit in a gap by using two healthy adjacent teeth.
- Immediate Crown- Some patients will be candidates to have an immediate crown fitted at the time of their anchor implant placement, but this is more selective. This will depend on the health of the patient’s gum and jaw structure.
Throughout your healing process
While you wait for your anchor to heal, you will want to take some extra care of the area. Do not eat any foods that flake or crack while chewing, or risk becoming lodged in any space left in the cavity of your new implant. Foods to avoid include chips, crackers, popcorn, nuts, and even carrots. You should also avoid extremely hot or cold foods, as they may shock the raw area of your implant. If you were a smoker or heavy drinker before your implant, both are prohibited during healing. You will want to avoid anything that extends the long process of a dental implant.
Try to focus on foods that are soft, nutritious and provide water. Hydration will be a key part of healing quickly. Foods like oatmeal, smoothies or purees (without strawberries or small seeds), eggs or fish for protein, beans, soft fruits, steamed or boiled veggies, and soups. Be careful with salt content to keep hydration levels high.
Talk with your primary Dentist and Dental Hygienist about proper cleaning and maintenance of the implant site. It will remain tender for a couple weeks, even after the replacement tooth is attached. Be sure not to scrub the raw gum area with a toothbrush directly. Clean and rinse after every meal.
While a temporary tooth may by your first choice for appearance, it may also be really valuable to help your anchor heal. The temporary tooth may act in place of a healing cap and help to prevent other teeth from moving during the healing period. Stay in contact with your implant team regarding the tenderness and pain associated with your implant site. You will want to be wary of potential complications like allergic reactions or infection while the area is raw and sensitive.
Throughout the process whether anchor, temporary, or implant, pay attention to how your mouth feels. Your dental team will be able to advise you on normal discomfort levels. You will also want to look out for any signs of “looseness” or give in that area. While the jaw is sensitive and post implant bonding, troubleshooting potential issues related to the fit of the implant will be crucial.