There are some aspects of dental implants that are very reliable. Dental implants are very successful from a survival standpoint. Nearly 100% of dental implants that are placed will survive. And if they are initially successful, nearly 100% of those successful implants will last nearly 20 years if properly cared for.
But what is not as reliable for dental implants is achieving an attractive appearance. This is where your choice of dentist will make the most difference, and where you have to use the most care in making your decision. Here are some of the issues that can make it challenging for placing attractive implants, especially in the front of the mouth.
Matching Natural Teeth
One of the biggest challenges, you might think, is matching the dental implant to the natural teeth on either side. However, this is not actually that difficult. We have literally centuries of experience making dental restorations that match natural teeth. And the dental crown that goes on a dental implant isn’t that much more difficult to match than the dental crown that that goes on a natural tooth. Yes, the dental implant can have a titanium abutment in the middle, but a natural tooth being covered with a crown, whether it’s been chipped, or has been treated with a root canal, will often have discoloration, too. So we are prepared for this challenge.
So matching the implant crown to your natural teeth is something cosmetic dentists are very good at. It’s very reliable.
Dealing with Gum Tissue
The hard part of getting an attractive dental implant result is related to the gum tissue around the implant. This is a challenge specific to dental implants, and can result in a number of aesthetic problems.
Some of the problems you might see include:
- Loss of bone
- Receding gums
- Black triangles around implant
- Discoloration of gums
- Visible implant
Most of these cosmetic issues are related to the body’s natural tendency to remove the bone that used to support the natural tooth. The dental implant can stimulate your body to retain the bone, but it doesn’t do it as well as a natural tooth. Once the bone is lost, the gums will follow. And as the gums recede, one of the first things to go is the papillae–the small protrusions of gum tissue that rise up between teeth–leading to gaps, called black triangles.
Loss of gum and bone tissue can mean there’s not enough gum tissue to cover the implant. With minor exposure this can make your gum tissue look grey. With more serious loss of bone and gum tissue, the implant itself may be visible.
The challenge can be even greater if you have:
- Gum and bone loss related to gum disease or trauma
- A high smile line that shows a lot of gum tissue
- Thin, translucent gums
In facing these challenges, we may recommend options to preserve bone and gums. This may include a delayed extraction, bone grafts, and possibly even a gum graft.
We Can Achieve Great Results
The exact procedures necessary to achieve great dental implant results for you will depend on your condition, so we can only talk about that in a consultation. However, you can get an idea about the quality of results we can achieve by looking at our smile gallery.