Do I have To Be Without Teeth While They Heal?
This is one of the most common questions I get when presenting treatment. Due to the nature of bone healing slower than skin, a waiting time is sometimes necessary. In previous blog posts, I have described the use of immediate implants. This allows teeth to be put on the implants from day one.
If your situation cannot be done in an “immediate” fashion there are always techniques for having a temporary tooth or teeth.
For many patients having implants for the back molars, they elect
not to have a temporary. If the tooth is further forward or it is a long span of missing teeth, a “flipper” can be made. This is basically like an orthodontic retainer with a tooth or teeth on it. It is removable and is made of a plastic type of material. I can make these look very good, but I advise that you remove it at night and do not chew hard foods with it since it can break.
Another option is called an Essex bridge. It basically looks like a clear INVISALIGN retainer with the missing teeth replaced. It does not cover your palate or tongue area and is virtually invisible. They can wear out if your treatment is longer than a few months. You must remove the retainer at night.
For those patients that I replace ALL of their teeth, your denture can be used over the healing implants. I usually recommend that we reline the inner side of the denture with a soft cushion material that will make it comfortable.
Lastly, there are “temporary implants.” These are very small diameter, non-invasive, implants that can have fixed cemented teeth made on them the same day. They work best when there are two or more temporary implants to support a resin bridge. It is not unusual to have as many as ten temporary implants to support an entire jaw of missing teeth.