TEMPORARY OR PROVISIONAL PROSTHESIS
A provisional, temporary or interim prosthesis is a fixed or removable dental prosthesis, designed to enhance esthetics, stabilization, and/or function for a limited time (generally 2-6 months: depending on use), after which it is to be replaced by a definitive dental prosthesis.
A provisional prosthesis is included in the treatment protocol for an All on 4, All on 5, All on 6 or All on 8 procedure. After the placement of your dental implants, a temporary ‘bridge’ which includes artificial acrylic teeth, will be fixed to the implant structure with special components, for use during the minimum four to six-month interim period before the permanent bridge can be used. This time is needed for your new dental implants to combine with the bone of the jaw where they were placed, a process called Osseointegration. During this period, a provisional must be used to restore function, because in most situations you will have few or no other natural teeth present to allow proper chewing, speaking, or to look ‘normal’
The provisional ‘bridge’ is constructed in the laboratory using many similar techniques utilized for accomplishing a permanent prosthesis. However, these prostheses are made from a preliminary impression and prior to implant placement. Adjustments will be made by the prosthodontist to improve the position, bite, and comfort. Patients should realize that this temporary prosthesis is only a short-term solution until the permanent bridge(s) are ready for placement. Patients are encouraged to take care with the provisional prosthesis. Most problems occur when patients accidentally cause damage to their provisional prosthesis.
Note: While the mandatory waiting period for osseointegration is 4-6 months, most provisional or temporary prostheses will not remain fully intact for 4-6 months. Some patients will experience fractures or breakage within 2-4 months of placement. Patients that experience fractures or breakage may return to Goodness Dental for repairs, or they may seek repairs with a local dentist. It is important to remember that your provisional is not built to last beyond a few months of use.
For many patients, the advantage of an immediate, temporary prosthesis is like night and day. Patients without functional teeth will now have a conventional set of teeth loaded immediately after the placement of dental implants. There will be no embarrassment, no need to hide from friends, family and colleagues. You will leave the clinic with a beautiful smile. Provisionals protect the integrating implants and gum tissue and help to control bleeding and swelling. Provisionals also help first time denture wearers adjust to the differences between natural teeth and dentures, and restore some chewing ability and speech. When patients receive their permanent bridges, they are more accustomed to speaking and eating with this type of restoration which looks and feels like natural teeth.
Getting Accustomed to Your Provisional Prosthesis
These provisional prostheses are fixed soon after your new dental implants are placed. The impression for their construction was made before the implant placement. The position and bite cannot be totally correct. Patients are scheduled to visit Goodness Dental for daily necessary adjustments for at least three days following the surgical appointment. It is critical for patients to schedule this time to ensure proper fit and occlusion.
How Long Should Patients Stay After Dental Implant Surgery to Test Their New Temporaries?
During the initial scheduling of appointments, patients are reminded to please include in your travel plans a minimum of three extra days after the dental implant surgery for a ‘fine-tuning’ of the temporary. If patients return home too quickly following treatment, the Goodness Dental staff will be limited in our opportunity to help, adjust and troubleshoot any problems or difficulties patients may experience, which may occur after surgery and placement of the provisional prosthesis.
With time, your cheek and tongue muscles will adjust to the new prosthesis in your mouth. At first, you may experience an increase in the amount of saliva in your mouth. You may also experience some minor irritation. Don’t be concerned. These changes and minor difficulties are only short-term.
How Long Do Provisional Bridges Last?
At Goodness Dental, our patients often tell us that these provisional prostheses look and feel so good that they would like to keep on using them forever. But your temporary bridge is temporary and can only be used for 2-6 months. These provisional prostheses cannot be considered permanent and should be used with caution during eating periods. A softer, nutritious diet is important.
Care should be taken to avoid fractures and damage to the temporary fixed prosthesis. Goodness Dental is always available during this integration period for continued adjustments and necessary repairs. Many patients choose to return once during this osseointegration period to make needed adjustments. However, many patients also make arrangements with a local dentist to help make minor repairs to the provisional prosthesis during this 4-6 month healing phase.
Removable or Fixed Temporary Prosthesis? Which is best for you?Patients that are concerned about possible breakage or damage to the fixed prosthesis during this 4-6 month healing stage should consider a removable prosthesis. A removable prosthesis is not as convenient as a fixed temporary prosthesis.
However a removable prosthesis is far less likely to become damaged during the 4-6 months healing phase.
At Goodness Dental, we recommend that most patients return home with a removable temporary prosthesis. However we offer our patients the option of a fixed temporary prosthesis. This document is meant to help patients understand the risks and possible inconveniences of choosing a fixed temporary prosthesis over a removable prosthesis.