Is it an emergency if I lost my healing cap?

Six months ago I had implant surgery and I’m currently waiting for it to heal completely so I can get the crown placed. Today, I noticed a large hole in my mouth – it completely freaked me out! I think the healing cap must have come off and I have no idea where it is. This is costing me so much and now I’m worried that I could get an infection or potentially damage the implant. Why do these things always happen on the weekend? I left a message on my dentist’s answering service, but I’m not sure if he will even call me back until Monday. Can it wait until then? — Ann

Dear Ann,
First, take a breath and try to relax. While healing caps don’t typically fall off, it can happen and there’s likely not any immediate concern.

After six months, the soft tissue around your dental implant should be well on the way to being healed so the chances of an infection are pretty slim. The main thing you want to watch until you can get it fixed is that you don’t injure the area – eating softer foods can help. If you notice food getting caught, try to pack it with cotton or gauze, or you can use a temporary denture adhesive that is found in the dental section of most grocery or drug stores to cover it.

Your dental implant should be fine looking at the long-term. Just be sure to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible before the tissue could collapse or try to heal over the top. If you wait too long, that could make it much more difficult to place the crown.

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