Permanent dental implants require a multistage treatment process before they can be considered to be finished. Your implant team will determine the best steps in your specific case, and one of the more pressing factors will be the best temporary solution before you're ready for the finishing touches (which is the placement of the permanent prosthetic dental crown to replace the missing tooth). But what does this actually involve?
For many patients, the permanent crown is preceded by a temporary tooth replacement. Ideally, this will be a dental crown, albeit one that is intended to be removed once the implant has healed and integrated with the surrounding tissue, meaning it has the required stability to act as an artificial tooth root.
A temporary crown on your dental implant is only possible when certain criteria are met. If the tooth to be replaced requires extraction, this extraction must be free of complications, resulting in the minimum amount of trauma. Any infections or secondary dental issues (such as gum recession at the implant site) can be considered to be complications. When none of these issues are applicable, a temporary crown is likely to be possible.
Your implant team will apply this temporary crown at the time of your implant procedure. It's a prosthetic dental crown—but has precise dimensions to reflect its temporary nature. It's slightly smaller than the permanent crown that will replace it to prevent contact with neighboring teeth, which minimizes pressure on the crown as the underlying implant site heals. This size difference will barely be noticeable, and it's highly unlikely that anyone will notice it unless you choose to point it out.
Living With a Temporary Crown
The temporary crown is attached to the implant via an abutment, and it will be securely screwed into this abutment. This can only be reversed by your dentist when the time comes, so it's not as though you will be able to unscrew the crown yourself. In fact, you must be diligent to minimize any stress to the temporary crown by only consuming recommended foods and by chewing on the unaffected side of your mouth. This will continue for several weeks, after which the implant will have sufficiently fused into place.
The Finishing Touches
While the implant is stabilizing, your permanent dental crown will be made. This will be a precise match to the tooth it's replacing, both in color and shape. At your final visit, your dentist will unscrew the temporary crown and replace it with its permanent counterpart, which will be cemented into position for maximum stability.
A temporary dental crown is the best-case scenario for many patients who require a dental implant, and it's helpful to understand how the process works. Contact a local dentist to learn more about permanent dental implants.