Do I have To Be Without Teeth While They Heal? (Post updated February 2021)
This is one of the most common questions I get when presenting treatment (single implants, full arch dental implants, etc). 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 (sometimes called “immediate dental implants”).
If your situation cannot be done in an “immediate” fashion there are always techniques for having a temporary tooth or teeth.
Types of temporary 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 Essix temp 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. They do not work if you are missing a lot of teeth. They are too weak.
For those patients that I replace ALL of their teeth, your denture ‘can’ be used over the healing implants, but this is NOT suggested. I usually recommend that we reline the inner side of the denture with a soft cushion material that will make it comfortable if this has to be done.
It is much better to have full arch dental implants on the same day with NO dentures. The temporary teeth look like this (see image). I make these daily.
Lastly, there are “temporary dental 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. This is not commonly done anymore.
Ramsey A. Amin, D.D.S.
Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology /Implant Dentistry
Fellow-American Academy of Implant Dentistry