Dental implants are one of the most innovative and effective approaches to achieving a full smile. These fixtures can permanently fill the gaps in your mouth left after tooth extractions.
Dental implants actually replace the root of the tooth and serve as a stable base on which to place single crowns, a dental bridge or a complete structure that replaces all the teeth in the upper or lower jaw. Thanks to this modern dental technology, many patients have the opportunity to talk, smile and feel confident again!
Without a doubt, dental implants have a lot of perks. However, most patients who are considering such treatment are curious about whether they will feel this otherwise foreign body like a natural tooth.
Do dental implants feel natural? How do they look and function? Continue reading to find out more.
Do implants feel like real teeth?
Dental implants may feel quite similar, but not exactly like your natural teeth. Despite that, we can confidently state that implants have the most natural feel of all tooth replacement options, namely bridges and dentures.
These fixtures gradually fuse with your jawbone, feeling more and more like natural teeth. In fact, the longer you have your implant, the more natural it will feel.
What do dental implants feel like?
In general, dental implants feel like they are a normal part of your oral cavity. However, there is a good chance that you will experience discomfort and a strange sensation in your mouth immediately following the implant placement procedure. This is perfectly normal. It is simply because your mouth hasn't fully healed and your implant hasn't yet fused with the jawbone. After a few weeks, your normal mouth sensation should return. Your implant will gradually bond to the bone and feel like a natural part of your mouth.
It is also possible that your implant will feel slightly different even after you have fully recovered from your implant surgery. In reality, though, this sensation doesn't really originate from your artificial tooth; rather, it comes from the surrounding gum tissue.
The dental implant itself is a false tooth root therefore it does not have nerves like your natural teeth. This means that your artificial tooth won’t feel sensations like pressure, cold or heat.
There are some people who report that when they tap on the implant it feels a little bit different to adjacent teeth. However, this is so minor and so significant that you would barely tell the difference.
In addition, you may also notice that there is a tiny bit of a hole underneath the implant crown when you brush and floss. That's because the shape of the implant isn't exactly the same as your natural tooth.
The differences between dental implants and natural teeth are typically insignificant. In fact, once you get used to your tooth implant, you will barely notice them.
How do dental implants function?
Dental implants remain fixed in the bone and allow for normal function and mastication. They act in a similar way as normal teeth. These small structures can help you restore up to 90% of your chewing ability which is significantly increased if compared to conventional dentures.
If you opt to replace your missing teeth with a traditional removable denture your biting force or ability to chew food effectively goes down by 80%. This explains why people who wear such a device have to be careful about what they eat.
Unlike removable dentures, dental implants technically allow you to eat almost anything. However, most oral surgeons recommend avoiding consuming chewy and hard foods. It is also best to stay away from candies, alcohol and cigarettes. These are just as harmful to your implant as they can be to your natural teeth.
The tooth implant is a false root (screw), usually made of titanium, which is inserted into the jaw bone. The titanium screw serves as a base on which is attached a dental crown, bridge or dentures. The implants integrate into the bone tissue, which leads to great strength and long life. When you take proper care of your oral health, your artificial teeth may last a lifetime.
How do dental implants look?
In most cases, dental implants look very natural. The implant-supported crowns are designed to closely resemble the shape and appearance of real teeth. Normally people will not realise that what you have is actually an implant-supported crown/ bridge. Dental implants attach to the bone and stay fixed in position allowing you to smile comfortably and naturally.
You can use dental implants to replace either a single missing tooth or multiple teeth. Titanium screws or the false tooth roots go into the jawbone so they are basically invisible. On top of these screws, your dentist attaches a dental crown which is actually the only visible portion of your implant.
Dental implant crowns are typically made of ceramic or porcelain and can be designed in various shades. Dentists usually use a shade guide in order to choose a colour that best matches the shade of the other teeth. Therefore, your crown will appear just like your natural teeth. Nobody will even notice that you have a false tooth.
The same goes for other dental implant options such as implant-supported bridges and dentures. They are designed in such a way that they look completely natural. These prostheses normally have an acrylic base which can perfectly blend with gums.
Where can dental implant discomfort come from?
As we mentioned above, it is completely normal to experience discomfort right after your dental implant procedure. This sensation will usually disappear in about two weeks. However, you need to keep in mind that the healing process may last a few months.
In case you experience discomfort a few months or years after your treatment then there might be an underlying problem leading to it. Such a sensation might be linked to any of the following issues:
- Peri-implantitis. This condition is much the same as gum disease. But while gingivitis affects your natural teeth, peri-implantitis "attacks" your dental implants, more specifically the surrounding gum tissue. The most common culprit for developing this condition is actually poor dental hygiene.
- Worn or damaged crown/ prosthesis. While your artificial tooth root (the implant screw) may be potentially everlasting, it is not the case with dental crowns. The tooth-shaped cap is prone to tear and wear and may need replacement after a certain period of time. Consequently, if your false tooth has been in place for quite a while and you're feeling discomfort at the implant site, then it might be prudent to check your crown.
- Poor implant placement. If your implant has not been placed correctly or has been inserted into an area with insufficient gum tissue, it may cause pain and discomfort. Malpositioned implants may also lead to various problems including implant failure. If you are planning to get dental implants make sure you choose a reliable dental surgeon with extensive experience in dentistry.
If you experience any discomfort beyond the normal recovery period, make sure to schedule a consultation with a dentist.
How oral hygiene keeps dental implants feeling natural?
Having excellent oral hygiene habits is one of the best ways to keep your dental implants functioning normally and prevent them from problems. Properly looking after your replacement teeth can ensure they will last a lifetime.
It is important to brush your teeth in the morning and at night to prevent the buildup of dental plaque that can cause infection. If cleaning hard-to-reach places is your concern, you may also want to use an interdental brush.
After brushing, floss the spaces between your teeth thoroughly. You can clean your natural teeth with regular dental floss. However, your dentist may advise you to use special floss for your implant-supported bridges/dentures. Also, do not forget to use antibacterial mouthwashes to further protect your mouth from bacteria.
Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are also essential to maintaining your dental implants and your beautiful smile. During the dental visit, the dentist will check the health of your natural teeth as well as your artificial teeth. It is also essential to have professional teeth cleanings to prevent bacteria from growing and to maintain healthy teeth.
There is no doubt that implant placement is the most effective way to restore your natural smile. These small fixtures are very durable and can last a lifetime. Implants also have the ability to function just like natural teeth allowing you to enjoy your favourite foods. In addition, the crown of the dental implant closely mimics the form and look of the actual tooth so that you can smile with confidence.
All of these characteristics explain why dental implants feel natural and are one of the most popular tooth replacement options in Singapore.