Dental implant temporary on a front tooth

Dental implant temporary for a front tooth?  What are options?

If you are about to have a dental implant or dental implants placed on a front tooth you probably already know that means there will be a tooth missing in the area for several months.  How you will handle that missing space is up to you.  This page will let you learn about a few options on how to temporarily restore the area.  I will cover advantages, disadvantages, costs, and steps.

  1. Screw retained or cemented temporary crown.  Sometimes we use your existing tooth to make this.
  2. Removable dental flipper or retainer.  If you had orthodontics you know what a retainer is.  This one just has a tooth/teeth attached to it.
  3. Essix style retainer. This looks like a bleaching tray or Invisalign tray but has a tooth/teeth in it.
  4. Snap-on smile.  Covers multiple teeth.  This is like a removable bridge and covers all the front teeth.

Screw or cement retained dental implant temporary crown

This is the ideal option but is not always a possibility.  It is also the most likely to cause problems, so there are reasons not to do it.  I always try to use the existing tooth as my temporary by grinding and drilling the tooth to fit the dental implant placed.  If the anatomy permits, the bone is in good shape, and the surgery goes well – this option is possible.  Those are 3 BIG IFS.  We use fully guided surgical stents to help ensure the implant goes where we want it, but the other two issues are out of our hands.

Advantages of a screw or cement retained immediate dental implant temporary crown

  • Never go without a tooth in front
  • It’s fixed in so don’t have to take it out
  • Looks similar to what you currently have or will have.
  • If using your current tooth, we will have a great match
  • Shapes the tissue to the ideal shape – helps with esthetics long term
  • Leaves access to the implant so don’t need a second surgery

Disadvantages of a  screw or cement retained immediate dental implant temporary crown

  • Increase of risk – If you bite down on this tooth too hard you will make the implant fail
  • Increases cost and time of initial procedure
  • May find out the day of surgery that this is not possible and then you have no back up plan. Meaning a removable choice would have to be made and that may take a couple days.

Cost of a screw or cement retained immediate dental implant temporary crown

The current cost to make the temporary is approximately $850 in 2016.  However, if I personally place the dental implant I typically charge significantly less.  Usually about half, depending on how long it takes me to complete the procedure.  Dental insurance does not cover any of this.

dental implant temporary immediate implant

First photo shows day the implant was placed using the patients own tooth. Second photo shows same area healed with the dental implant temporary. Third photo shows the impression of the dental implant. The fourth photo shows our final dental implant crown.

immediate dental implant temporary crown

Another similar example. First photo is healed dental implant temporary crown using patients own tooth. Final photo is the porcelain dental crown.

Dental code of dental implant temporary crown

If you are a dentist looking for the dental code for a immediate implant temporary crown then use D6795, but don’t submit to insurance or may risk insurance not paying for final crown.

Removable dental flipper

 A dental flipper might be required if the surgery was complex or your anatomy doesn’t allow an immediate screw retained temporary.  A flipper looks very similar to an orthodontic retainer but has a tooth/teeth on it and not as much metal.  There may be small metal clasps in back but there will not be metal in the front.  An acrylic tooth that resembles your other teeth will be used.

 Advantages of removable dental flipper

  • First of all it is the cheapest option
  • We can make a dental flipper pretty quickly.  Some places will make in office but we send out and need about 1-2 days.
  • Works well most of the time
  • If designed right will not put pressure on implant and will protect it while healing to some extent
  • Dentists generally consider flippers the “standard of care”

Disadvantages of a removable dental flipper

  • A removable dental flipper is never going to be a perfect match to your other teeth and it’s hard to get what I consider a really good match.
  • Dental flippers may put pressure on the gums, which can be bad if bone grafting or delicate gum surgery was done.
  • Flippers can break pretty easily and since they are removable, you can lose your flipper.
  • It can be difficult or impossible to eat with them – they may not be strong enough to eat on and often must be removed for meals.
  • They can be difficult to talk with and will take some time for you to adapt to.
  • For replacing just one or two teeth, it is a lot of “hardware” in your mouth.
  • Finally some people just flat out hate wearing them.

Cost of a removable dental flipper

The current cost to make the temporary is approximately $450 in 2016.  This fee is the same no matter who places the implant in my office as a laboratory is making this.

dental implant temporary flipper

Essix style retainer

An essix retainer is a custom clear retainer, similar to the Invisalign product, that snaps over all of the upper or lower teeth.  An impression is made and sent to a dental laboratory to fabricate this one.

 Advantages of essix

  • Compared to other removable options, this is probably the most comfortable
  • Made quickly (with in a day or 2)
  • Pretty strong.  Can eat with it in but hard to do sometimes.
  • Protects area of implant – no pressure on gum surgery or bone grafted areas.  Great choice if a lot of bone grafting done.

Disadvantages with an essix

  • Rarely a perfect match
  • Will talk a little funny
  • Removable so you can lose it
  • They can be difficult to talk with and will take some time for you to adapt to

Cost of an essix

The current cost to make the temporary is approximately $450 in 2016.  This fee is the same no matter who places the implant in my office as a laboratory is making this.

dental implant temporary essix

Snap-On Smile

Snap-On Smile is a name brand for a removable product that covers several teeth.  While a Snap-on does fix multiple front teeth with problems, it can also replace a single missing tooth or two.  Here is there website  Snap-On

Advantages of Snap-On

  • They are strong enough to withstand most chewing, therefore you can eat with a Snap-On.
  • A Snap-On protects the area of a dental implant. Since it applies no pressure on the gum surgery or bone grafted areas, it is a great choice if bone grafting was done.

Problems Associated with a Snap-On

  • A Snap-On is bulky and since it is removable you can lose it.
  • They will impact your bite so can not wear all the time
  • More expensive (about 2-4x cost of the other options)
  • They can be difficult to talk with and will take some time for you to adapt to

 Cost of a Snap-On

The current cost to make a Snap-On is approximately $650-1200 in 2016. The range is rather large because the cost changes with more teeth.  This fee is the same no matter who places the implant in my office as a laboratory is making this.

dental implant temporary

Snap on smile

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