What makes dental implants so realistic?

Tooth loss is a common oral health issue in adults that becomes more prevalent with age. Although tooth loss can occur from injuries impacting the face, most cases can be attributed to untreated gum disease and tooth decay leading to the necessary extraction of unsavable teeth.

Removing teeth that are beyond repair is beneficial, but it’s only the first step in restoring your oral health. Gaps left from missing teeth can hurt your self-confidence, misalign your bite, and even change the shape of your face over time.

Several options for replacing missing teeth are available, but dental implants are considered superior because of their strength, longevity, and realistic look and feel. The many benefits of dental implants are largely thanks to the design and technology behind the restoration.

Dental implants mimic natural tooth anatomy.

If you’re unfamiliar with dental implants, you might be under the assumption that each implant is a single piece of hardware designed to look like a tooth. Dental implants are actually designed in three distinct pieces, which add to their strength and realistic appearance.

The first piece is the implant post that is surgically placed within the jawbone. You can think of it just like the root of a tooth, but instead, it’s made of medical-grade titanium that looks like a screw. When a tooth is extracted, the root leaves a gap within the jawbone, so your dentist may add a bone graft to add more density and stability around the implant post.

The second piece of the implant is called an abutment. The abutment is what bridges the space between the titanium implant post and the future prosthetic tooth. The abutment attaches to the post and sits level with the gums.

The third piece of the implant is the crown, which forms the new “tooth” in your smile. The temporary screw will be removed, and the crown will be placed directly on the abutment. At Ada Smile Place, we typically use Emax crowns, which are made of durable porcelain.

The three-piece design of implants is very similar to the anatomy of a natural tooth; the post is like the root, the abutment is like the pulp and dentin interior, and the crown is like the protective enamel layer.

Implant-supported dentures are an option for extensive tooth loss.

Single dental implants are suitable for replacing individual teeth, but implant-supported dentures are a fantastic solution if you have most or an entire arch of missing teeth.

Implant-supported dentures use the same idea as dental bridges, which use a pontic to literally “bridge” the gap between two teeth. The difference is a dental bridge relies on crowned anchor teeth, while implant-supported dentures use a denture-type pontic that pops directly onto a series of dental implants.

Implant-supported dentures require a slightly different approach to post placement. Instead of replacing every missing tooth with an implant, your dentist can use four to eight posts to support an entire arch. This approach is less invasive, more comfortable for the patient, and still offers excellent stability.

Dental implants feel just as strong as natural teeth when chewing.

When most people ask if dental implants are like natural teeth, they often refer to how implants feel and function compared to natural healthy teeth. Most other options for missing teeth, like dentures or bridges, don’t have the same bite force as natural teeth, which means changes to your diet are necessary.

We’re happy to say that dental implants are comparable to natural teeth when it comes to enjoying your favorite foods. Once your implants are fully healed, you can eat a normal diet. Many people even discover they can eat a wider variety of foods after implant surgery because their previous oral health issues caused too much pain or difficulty chewing.

However, if you have an unusually strong bite force or suffer from bruxism, this can impact your experience with dental implants. Your dentist will take note of these attributes and incorporate them into candidacy and planning for dental implant surgery.

Dental implants are easy to care for and last a lifetime.

Dental implants are just as easy to care for as natural teeth. Even if you have several single implants in your smile, you can rest assured you won’t even notice them when it comes to at-home dental care. All you need to do is continue brushing and flossing around each tooth as usual. Don’t forget to also see your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning.

As far as longevity goes, your dental implant post will last a lifetime with proper care. After osseointegration (where the bone fuses to the titanium implant post) is complete, the titanium post will become a permanent fixture in your smile. The only part of a dental implant that won’t last as long as a natural tooth is the crown. Like standard dental crowns, the crown on a dental implant typically lasts 10 to 15 years—and sometimes even longer with a great oral care routine. If your crown wears out or cracks, it can easily be replaced with a new one.

Schedule your consultation for dental implants in Ada, Oklahoma.

If you’re living with tooth loss or know several teeth need to be removed, the team at Ada Smile Place is waiting to help. Scheduling a consultation is the best way to learn more about dental implants, how they compare to natural teeth, and discover if you’re a candidate for treatment.

Take a moment to book your visit today by calling our office or using this online form.