Can I eat with an Essix Appliance?
Doctor Answers 4
Don't use your Essix to eat with!
Make sure you do not eat with your Essix in place. They are for looks only and will easily break if you eat with them in place. Even if you don't bite down with your front teeth, the Essix retainer is only a thin layer of plastic that covers the teeth that are there (similar to a more rigid bleaching tray), so that when you bite together, you will be chewing on that thin plastic.
Once you have the bone graft and/or implants placed, you may have to wear the Essix for a while longer. If your dentist/surgeon feels comfortable with the design, you might be able to upgrade to a flipper which allow for a little more function while in place. That being said, flippers can break too if too much force is applied to them while chewing. It is very important for bone and implant healing to minimize any amount of pressure on the healing area -- meaning you need to leave the Essix or Flipper out of your mouth as much as possible during the healing phase. I know it's a pain, embarrassing, inconvenient, and less than attractive, but it is protecting your investment and giving your implants the best chance at healing like they should.
Caveat: If you're considering updating your smile by doing veneers or crowns on the neighboring teeth, you can have your dentist prepare those teeth and make a long-term temporary bridge that stays in place. In our practice we often use a permanent material for the bridge so it looks pretty, is strong, and stays intact through the healing period. We use temporary cement so the bridge can be removed and replaced as needed for follow-up procedures and check-ups. This is certainly a more expensive and invasive option (only really makes sense if you need or want those additional restorations, but it does make for a much much more pleasant healing experience so you don't walk around with a fragile, annoying, removable temporary for 6-12 months like you do with an Essix or Flipper.
Good luck with the process, and when you get frustrated with the Essix or Flipper, just remember that it's only temporary!