All too often we as dentists have a patient call or come into the office with a crown that has broken off at the gum line. This failed crown was almost always on a tooth with a root canal.
When this tooth is replaced with an implant, traditionally I have usually waited 4-6 months to let the implant heal before making a crown to attach to the implant. If the lost tooth is a front tooth, we have a flipper made. A flipper is a removable appliance which fits on the inside of the teeth and usually has one artificial tooth attached to it. Patients almost invariably hate wearing a flipper. Another appliance used is a clear Invisalign-type tray, with a tooth placed in the missing tooth area.
In some instances (when no infection is present), we can remove a broken tooth, place an implant, and attach a temporary crown to the implant all in one appointment. The key to this procedure is the temporary crown must be adjusted so it does not contact the opposing teeth when the patient bites together. The patient can then wear this temporary crown for 4-6 months while the implant heals until it is ready for a permanent crown.