Dental implants look much like natural teeth, and they also feel like them to some extent. Here, our Ottawa dentists describe the similarities and differences.
If you are considering getting dental implants, you most likely have questions about what they're going to feel like after they have healed.
This is a common query. In fact, one of the first things our patients often ask us during dental implant consultations is whether their implants will feel like their natural teeth.
What are dental implants?
To understand what having a dental implant will feel like, it can help to understand exactly what it is.
A dental implant is an artificial replacement for a missing tooth, including the root and the crown (the visible part above the gum line).
The implant itself is a small titanium screw that is surgically implanted into the jaw to act as the root of the tooth. Titanium is biocompatible, which means that it can fuse with bone tissue, making it a solid foundation for the overall restoration.
The titanium screw is topped with an abutment, to which the custom-made artificial crown is attached. Together, these three parts make up your replacement tooth and are designed to look and function much like a natural tooth.
So how does it feel?
Since the dental implant is made up of artificial materials, you will not have any feeling in the implant itself. Any sensations you experience in relation to your implant will come from the tissues surrounding it.
Natural teeth have nerve endings, that allow them to feel things like temperature and pressure. You will not get these feelings with an implant.
In spite of this difference, once your dental implant has healed, it will look and function much like your natural teeth do. Once their mouth adjusts to the new addition, most patients don't notice much (if any difference) on a daily basis.
During the healing process, you may need to adjust your diet. Some people are recommended to only eat soft foods for up to 6 weeks, but once healing is complete you should be able to eat the same diet as you were before dental implants.
You'll also need to care for your dental implant in a similar way to how you care for your natural teeth: by brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly for dental cleanings and checkups.
Since dental implants are fused to the bone, they do not typically fall out. However, this may occur if there is an issue with the bond to the bone, such as bone shrinkage or loss, or if an infection occurs to cause the implant to dislodge from the jaw bone (this is why oral hygiene is still important).
It may also be possible for a direct blow to knock a dental implant out of place, so you'll also want to be careful and take safety precautions when engaging in activities or playing sports.