Dental implants are not susceptible to the decay that afflicts natural teeth, but still require adequate cleaning to remove plaque that can stick to them and infect the surrounding tissue. Periodontal disease can destabilize the jawbone, and consequently the implant. Although a dental hygienist can clean the implant's abutment and the crown, the patient must…
How Natural Do Dental Implants Look?
As someone with one or more missing teeth, you may be wondering how natural dental implants will look. The thought of others noticing that your teeth are not original may worry you or make you feel self-conscious. Here are some details on how dental implants work and appear.
What do dental implants entail?
If you are new to the world of dental restoration, you may be completely in the dark about how dental implants are inserted into a patient's mouth. The process entails several steps that are outlined here.
1. Dental health evaluation
Before a dental implant can be inserted, your dentist will need to evaluate the health of your other teeth, gums, and jawbone. Since the jawbone must be strong enough to hold the replacement tooth, some patients require bone grafting prior to the restoration. Bone grafting is a procedure that involves taking tissue from elsewhere in your own body or from a tissue bank to replace the weakened bone area.
In addition to proper jawbone density, your gums must also be healthy. If yours are not, you could require treatment before your dentist moves forward with the implant process.
2. Placement of the implant
When your mouth is healthy enough to begin the implant procedure, your dentist will insert the implant by cutting your gum to reveal your jawbone. Next, your oral health care professional will drill a hole into your bone and attach the implant to the jawbone. The metal post that acts as your tooth root is inserted deeply to prevent the permanent crown from moving.
If you prefer a temporary crown while your mouth heals, one can be placed.
3. Bone growth
After the implant post has been placed, you must wait several months for the bone to grow around it. Your dentist will determine when your mouth is ready for placement of the abutment.
4. Abutment placement
Many patients require minor surgery to place the abutment to which their permanent crown will attach. This is done via an outpatient procedure that entails reopening the gum to affix the abutment to the metal implant post. Your dentist will then seal the gums and give you around two weeks to heal before proceeding to the next step in the process.
5. Impressions made
After your gums have had adequate time to heal, impressions of your mouth can be taken. These allow your oral health care professional to make the permanent crown resemble the surrounding teeth as closely as possible. This is the step that helps create the natural-looking implant desired by most dental patients.
6. Crown placement
The final step in the process of inserting dental implants is cementing the crown into place. This is accomplished either using dental cement or a screw. For front teeth, cement is often used because it is tooth-colored and can offer an untouched appearance. However, implant crowns placed with screws typically last longer than those secured with cement.
How do implants help you retain your natural look?
Though many dental patients worry whether their implants will appear realistic, the truth is that without replacing missing teeth, you will likely suffer from degeneration of your jawbone. Further, your facial muscles can be affected by the loss of a tooth and your cheeks could begin to appear withdrawn or sunken.
By getting an implant, you can help retain your facial structure. This coupled with a crown made from porcelain or ceramic can provide you with a dental implant that most other people will not notice. Additionally, your oral health care professional can match the crown to the shade of your original teeth in your mouth. Your dentist will likely hold cards with various hues next to your natural teeth to see which most closely fits.
How natural your dental implants look depends upon several factors. One of those is which type of material is used to form the crown; the other is whether cement or a screw is used to secure the crown. Lastly, a color-matching wheel of cards is used to help your dentist identify the proper tint to fit in with the rest of your teeth. While in some cases people may be able to tell that you have dental implants, in many cases they will not. If someone can tell, they will probably have had to take a scrutinizing look before noticing any difference between the implant and your natural teeth.
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