One of the first questions we get during a dental implant consultation is, “Will they feel like my natural teeth?” Implants are the preferred tooth replacement option because, unlike dentures, they give wearers the most natural look and feel. But just how natural do they feel?

What Are Dental Implants?

In order to get an idea of how implants feel, it’s important to understand what a dental implant actually is. If you are missing a tooth – either because of a dental trauma or because you’ve had it extracted – a dental implant serves as a replacement for the tooth root. It consists of a titanium screw placed into the jaw bone and a post that is attached to it. The titanium is biocompatible, which means that it can fuse with your bone and become a solid foundation for the screw and restoration that goes on top. The restoration part of the implant is a dental crown, bridge, or denture, depending on how many teeth you need replaced.

How Natural Do Implants Feel?

Because a dental implant is replacing a missing tooth, you don’t have any feeling in the implant itself. Any feeling you have comes from the surrounding gum tissue. That means that the implant doesn’t feel exactly like your natural tooth. With your natural teeth, you have tooth roots that have nerves that feel sensations – heat, cold, pressure, etc. An implant can’t feel these things because there aren’t roots or nerves. You have to rely on the nerves in the surrounding gum tissue to provide the sensation for the missing tooth. Other than that, a dental implant looks and functions just like a natural tooth. We can design them to blend in perfectly with surrounding healthy teeth, and you care for implants just like you do the rest of your teeth. Once you’ve had your implant for a few weeks, we bet you’ll hardly notice a difference!

What is a Dental Implant

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth, a permanent bridge, or a denture. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason. The most common alternative to dental implants for a single missing tooth is a tooth supported fixed bridge. This involves grinding away – in other words, intentionally damaging – healthy adjacent teeth that are used to attach and support the bridge. These teeth are then much more at risk for root canal problems and decay.

For most patients who undergo dental implant surgery, the success rate is 95-98% for implant longevity of up to ten years. Contributing factors that cause implants to fail are divided into short term and long term failure. When an implant fails it means it is not staying where it was placed or getting loose.

Success rates of dental implants vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care (see below), implants can last a lifetime.

Dental implants are designed to last a long time — upwards of 25 years — and are in many cases a long-term, permanent teeth replacement solution. Implant alternatives typically last between 5 to 15 years before needing to be replaced.

A Few Causes of Dental Implant Failure

Dental implants can fail for a variety of reasons, but the most common – and most preventable – are infection and bone loss. This infection is usually the result of poor dental hygiene following a dental implant procedure, and it can lead to further bone loss and implant failure. Brushing and flossing are key to daily maintenance of your dental implant.

Still have questions about dental implants? Give us a call or schedule a consultation using our online form. Dr. Avant is a skilled implant dentist, and she can walk you through the entire process and answer any questions you might have. Let us give you a beautiful new smile!