Dental crowns are only placed once the tooth currently occupying the dental socket is extracted. Although a dentist will explore all other avenues to restore the tooth while preserving its natural structure, this may not be possible. In these circumstances, the tooth must be extracted, and this actually creates the optimal situation for implant placement. But what about the empty dental socket? Will you have to deal with an obvious gap in your smile until you heal from your implant surgery?
The implanted section of the prosthesis is a titanium alloy screw. This is the part of the implant that supports the compressive bite forces that the prosthetic tooth will experience. The alloy screw becomes like a tooth root, and when implanted in your jaw, bone matter will grow around it, permanently holding the screw in place. In the meantime, a permanent crown will have been manufactured from ceramic (likely to be either lithium disilicate or zirconia). It will be cemented to the implant embedded in your jaw. But the healing process for an implant (called osseointegration) can take from two to six months. No, your dentist won't expect you to have a gap in your teeth for this length of time.
Your permanent prosthetic tooth will be made of dental ceramic. However, your temporary prosthetic tooth will be made of tooth-colored acrylic. It's only intended to be functional until your implant has healed, and it won't be as functional as the implant's permanent tooth. For starters, the temporary prosthesis won't be anchored to the implant, and so won't have the same bite force as the completed implant. It will be attached to the teeth on either side of the gap with dental cement, utilizing a connection that your dentist can remove once it's time for the implant's permanent tooth to be attached.
The temporary prosthetic tooth comes with some conditions. You must remember that it's mostly cosmetic, although it allows you to eat a wide variety of foods. You should abstain from foods that are particularly crunchy, sticky, or chewy. The temporary tooth won't easily detach, yet there's a small risk of this occurring if you attempt to treat the prosthesis as though it's a natural tooth, or as though it has the same strength as a completed implant. Caring for the temporary prosthesis is a breeze, and all you need to do is brush it like a natural tooth.
Your temporary prosthesis lacks most of the benefits of your permanent replacement tooth, but it serves an extremely valuable purpose. For more information on dental implants, contact a professional near you.