Dental implants are an excellent treatment option for patients who have lost teeth or who need to have teeth extracted. If you are currently considering having implants, it's important to identify common misconceptions so that you understand all of the facts. One common misconception is that if you have dental implant surgery, you will be without teeth for some period of time. In the vast majority of cases, this is untrue. Your dentist understands that your appearance is important to you and will present several options to consider as you decide which type of temporary denture or bridgework will work best as your implants heal.
Your Existing Dentures
If you are currently wearing dentures, commonly called false teeth, your dentist can reline them so they will fit over the site of your dental implant surgery. Since the gum tissue around your surgical site will swell, it's important to follow your dentist's instructions about when to wear the dentures after the surgery. In many cases, they are worn right away after the surgery to minimize swelling and pain.
The advantage of using your existing dentures is, of course, that you are already used to them. They are unlikely to cause irritation, and once your surgical site has healed, your adjustment period will be over; your teeth will feel just like they did before.
New Temporary Dentures
If you have had several teeth in the front of your mouth extracted, you might receive a set of temporary dentures to wear until the permanent crowns can be placed on your implants. The impressions for these temporary dentures will be taken ahead of time, so they'll be fabricated and ready to go the day you have your extractions done. You can then wear the dentures through the healing process and after the inner portion of the implants are placed.
You will have an adjustment period with new dentures, and you may need to see your dentist a few times to get the fit right. One big advantage is that dentures are less expensive than most of the other alternatives.
If you have just one tooth, or at most two, extracted, your dentist can fabricate a temporary bridge to close up the gap while your implant site heals. In some cases, this will entail putting crowns on the adjacent teeth. Other times, a special type of temporary bridge called a Maryland bridge will be used; this requires less preparation of the adjacent teeth and is a less invasive (and usually a less costly) option.
Leaving a Space
If you have one or two teeth extracted and the teeth are toward the back of your mouth, the dentist might suggest leaving the site alone and not worrying about a temporary replacement. This is more common when the implant is placed at the time of the extraction, since the crown will likely be able to be placed relatively soon rather than waiting months. Also, this is usually only suggested when the space won't be seen when you smile.
The disadvantage here is that if the crown of your implant isn't placed soon, the opposing tooth and the adjacent teeth can shift in response to the new space created. This is something to discuss with your dentist, as he or she will be able to tell you how long it will be before your teeth begin to shift. Choosing this option also makes it important that you keep your follow-up appointments, as any delay can increase the chances that your other teeth will move.
If you have questions about how your teeth will be temporarily replaced during the implant healing process, be sure to ask a dentist, such as Davis R Troup DDS PA. He or she will be happy to explain the different options and recommend the one that is right for you.