Do You Have To Live With A Gap In Your Smile While Your Dental Implant Heals?

For most patients, the successful placement of a dental implant involves a series of visits to their dentist, spread out over several months. The actual surgical placement of the implant is one of the very first steps, and the process can be considered to be finished when your jaw has successfully healed around the implant, creating a sturdy anchor. Only then can the implant have its permanent dental crown (which is your replacement tooth) fitted. But does this mean you'll need to have a gap in your smile until that permanent crown is ready to be added?

Implant Healing

The healing period immediately following implant placement is called osseointegration. The required time is different for everyone, but you can expect anywhere from three to six months. Dental implants require successful osseointegration; otherwise, the implant will not be able to support the bite pressure experienced by the dental crown attached to it—the implant will simply detach from the bone, and implant failure will have occurred. So while this waiting period is mandatory for most cases, does this mean you'll be missing a tooth from three to six months?

Non-Obvious Teeth

If your dental implant has been placed around the side and/or rear of your dental arch, the fact that there's a missing tooth may not be obvious. Even when talking and eating, it's unlikely that anyone will spot the gap. In these cases, a temporary measure for the gap in your smile isn't generally needed. When the tooth is towards the front of your dental arch (known as an anterior tooth), then a temporary dental crown can be beneficial.

Obvious Teeth

While your permanent dental crown will be ceramic (chosen for its strength and lifelike appearance), your temporary crown will be resin (plastic). At first glance, it will look like a natural tooth, although it won't be quite as esthetically pleasing as your permanent crown will. Temporary resin crowns are perfectly sufficient in the short-term. They can become discolored and generally tarnished relatively quickly, but this isn't exactly an issue, because you'll only be wearing it for a matter of weeks.

Applying a Temporary Crown

The temporary crown will be lightly cemented into place, which allows for its easy removal when your permanent crown is ready to be added to your implant. The temporary crown is primarily cosmetic, so you'll need to chew carefully, making sure not to apply too much pressure to it. 

Your dentist won't expect you to live with a gap in your smile for the months it takes for your implant to heal, which is why a temporary dental crown can have real benefits.

Reach out to a company like Koehn Dentistry & Aesthetics for more information.