Temporary Front Tooth After Bone Graft: Is a Flipper My Best Option?

Question:

Derek asks:

I am looking at getting an implant for my top front tooth
#8. It will need a bone graft which I heard will take 3-6 months to heal. Can I get a temporary tooth put in for that period of time? I've heard also that I could use a "flipper"/partial denture to fill the hole? But, I had heard that the flipper can move too much while chewing and put pressure on the bone graft which could loosen it. Any advice? What are my best options?

Answer:
Answered by: Aaron B. Carner, DMD

Greenwood, SC

Hi Derek,

For a front tooth aesthetics is much more of a concern with dental implant placement than for a back tooth.

Not too many people are willing to go without a front tooth for 3-6 months to allow a bone graft to heal and then potentially another 3-6 months for dental implant healing. Ideally, it would be best to have the bone graft performed and not replace the tooth while the graft is healing but this is usually unrealistic for someone to do.

A flipper is a good option to be worn during the healing process (I usually prefer this option) but it would be important to have it designed so that the flipper does not rub against the bone graft site. This may mean that the tooth that is to be replaced is adjusted so that it does not traumatize the graft site and there is some space between the flipper and the soft tissue while healing. If a flipper is made to wear it is also best to keep it out as much as possible while the site is healing, such as when you are home alone or at night). This helps the area heal better.

Another option may be to have something made that is called an Essex retainer. This is basically a plastic tray made to fit over your teeth with a "fake" tooth inserted into the tray. The benefit is that it can be designed not to cover the roof of your mouth or hit against the soft tissue but a disadvantage is that it can wear out and need to be remade several times during the healing of the bone graft.

These are a few options you have, but the best advice is to discuss this with your surgeon prior to implant placement so you know what to expect and what will be best in your situation. Good luck.



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