Temporary Tooth While Waiting for a Dental Implant
If you have been considering a dental implant, you may be curious about the steps involved in the implant treatment process. Among adults in the United States, dental implant treatment is one of the most popular tooth replacement treatment options. Due to this popularity, providers have streamlined the treatment process to provide the most efficient and satisfactory experience. To reduce discomfort, providers have started to offer temporary tooth replacement options while their patients wait for their gums to heal. Here is more information for you about the dental implant treatment process and the temporary tooth replacement options that are available to you.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a metal or ceramic post is surgically placed in the jawbone. Once the gums have healed, the post is designed to act like the root of a natural tooth, providing stability and security for the new artificial tooth. An artificial crown selected to match the surrounding natural teeth perfectly will then be securely placed on top of the implant post.
The Dental Implant Treatment Process
The dental implant treatment generally occurs in several steps. The steps outlined below are the standard steps involved in the typical implant treatment plan. After the initial consultation visit with the provider, the follow steps usually occur:
- Implant surgery is performed by an oral surgeon or the general dentist to install the implant post in the jawbone.
- Healing period: immediately after the implant is placed, a healing period of 4-7 months is required to allow time for the implant to fuse with the bone and the gums to heal.
- Temporary tooth: Depending on the treatment plan, the provider may want to place a healing cap over the implant post to help the gums heal.
- Alternatively, the provider may want to install a temporary crown or another temporary tooth option instead of the healing cap.
- Crown placement: After the implant has successfully fused with the bone, the permanent dental crown can be placed on the abutment and the treatment process is complete.
Getting a Temporary Tooth While Waiting for a Dental Implant
While there are several steps to the implant treatment, typically the treatment only requires two procedures. First, an oral surgeon drills a hole in the jawbone and then places the implant post. Then after the healing period, the dentist will fit the abutment onto the implant, and attach the crown on top. So, what are you supposed to do without a tooth during the several month healing period between the two procedures? In fact, there are many options for a temporary tooth while you wait for the second procedure. If the missing tooth is in the back of the mouth, a temporary replacement may not be needed. However, if the tooth being replaced is in the front of the mouth, you may want to consider a temporary tooth. Fortunately, there are a variety of options available for this temporary tooth. If you are trying to decide if you would want a temporary tooth as a part of your implant treatment, you should start by speaking with your dentist about which option is best for you prior to your implant treatment procedure.
Temporary Tooth-Replacement Options
For many patients interested in dental implant treatment, the biggest area of concern is the several month healing period where they must wait for the treatment to be complete. There are many temporary options to replace either a single missing tooth or several missing teeth during the implant treatment process, including:
- Temporary bridge – Different than a permanent dental bridge, with a temporary bridge the teeth surrounding the implant will not be modified or disturbed. Depending on the design, the teeth on each side may be used to anchor the bridge, but it can be removed later. A temporary bridge provides full eating and speaking function while you wait for your artificial crown.
- Temporary crown – A provider may offer the option of choosing between a healing cap and a temporary crown. A temporary crown will restore the look of the smile and will look similar to the permanent crown that will eventually be placed.
- Dental Flipper – A dental flipper is another popular option that is similar to a temporary denture. A flipper is a metal retainer with a temporary crown attached to it. The flipper can be easily worn over the area where the implant post has been placed. Unfortunately, you cannot eat with a flipper in, and the flipper prosthetic must be removed every night to be cleaned.