Purley dentist, Dr Tushar Patel, looks at this procedure from the perspective of a patient.
As we have discussed in previous blogs, dental implants offer the most secure, strong and stable of all current tooth replacement methods. Whilst they might be more expensive initially, over time they represent good value for money for patients who are looking for a long term resolution to missing teeth.
One question that we do get asked quite a lot at our Purley dentists clinic is how realistic do dental implants both look and feel?
What is an implant?
Although this is a basic question, it is important that patients understand that a dental implant is, technically speaking, just the titanium screw-like implement that is placed into the jaw. This is the part which, in effect, replicates the lost tooth root and allows us to build an effective and strong replacement tooth.
When patients talk about a dental implant procedure, they are usually referring to the completed restoration which includes the addition of an abutment and a crown to replace the visible part of the tooth. Used together, these three components offer patients a first class tooth replacement.
What do they look like?
People often have teeth replaced in order to eat more easily. It is not the only reason though, and, where a tooth has been lost in a very visible position, such as the front of the mouth, it is quite natural that they will also want any replacement tooth to look as natural as possible.
To this end, some people will opt to have dentures. Modern dentures are greatly improved on their predecessors, especially where appearance is concerned. Many patients are very happy with these initially, but, as time passes, the sometimes inconvenience of dentures becomes more apparent and they may decide to look at alternatives.
Another option is a dental bridge which also look natural, at least initially. As they age though, they can start to look a little jaded and may stand out from the rest of your teeth. A bridge also relies on the integrity of the supporting teeth, and when these fail, so can the bridge. This is especially the case where the patient has not kept them as clean as they should.
On appearance alone, dental implants win hands down. There is an initial period whilst the titanium root integrates with the bone, where you will still have a gap between the teeth. But in the typical twenty year plus lifespan of an implant though, this is insignificant, and once completed, your new ‘dental implant tooth’ will be indistinguishable from your natural teeth.
Making it look natural