Dental Implant Temporaries
Temporary Dental Implants Explained:
When considering a dental implant (or implants), it is important to consider the options for temporization as well, i.e. having a temporary tooth (or teeth) in place.
After an implant or implants are placed in the jaws, they will usually need to heal for a few months prior to becoming functional. During this time, and depending on the circumstances, having a temporary crown, bridge, or other type of prosthesis in place can provide many advantages such as better soft tissue (gum) healing and contouring, improved cosmetics, better speech, and sometimes even function or chewing.
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One option for temporization (having a temporary tooth or teeth) is an Essix appliance. This is a clear plastic “Invisalign” or bleaching style tray with a temporary tooth inside that can be fabricated for cosmetic purposes to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth. This is made in a lab and the patient wears it while in public for a few months while an implant is healing. An Essix appliance is a nice option because they are relatively easy to make, they are inexpensive, they can temporarily replace one or more teeth, and they do not place any pressure on the surgical sites where bone grafting or implant placement occurred.
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Temporary Crown or Bridge
A second option for temporization is a temporary crown or bridge. These can provide excellent esthetics and feel almost like the final crown or bridge. Often times these are made by a lab and are retained with a small screw that secures it to the implant while it is healing. If a patient chooses this option, the crown or bridge is often left out of contact, or with very light contact, with the opposing tooth or teeth to ensure that the supporting implant or implants heal properly. Temporary crowns and bridges also can help with the gums healing around a surgical site and improve the final appearance of the soft tissue contours. They can often be made in one to two days and facilitate the patient’s return to work or school without anyone ever noticing that a surgery was done.