A Natural Smile: Are You Worried That Your Dental Implant Won't Look Realistic?

You may have once been talking to someone and noticed that they have false teeth—namely dentures. The unnatural look may be subtle, and you might not be totally sure, but something looks a little off with their teeth—perhaps they're too symmetrical, slightly too large, or seem to be sliding on the gums. This thought can create some apprehension about your upcoming dental implant procedure, when a damaged tooth will be extracted and replaced with an implant. Is the finished work going to look as natural as your dentist assures you?

Dental Prostheses 

Dentures and implants are vastly different types of dental prostheses with completely different outcomes. The implant is not the prosthetic tooth that seamlessly fits into your oral dentition alongside the rest of your teeth. It's the surprisingly small titanium alloy screw that's fitted in your jaw during your dental implant surgery. Your jawbone has an access hole created to hold the implant, and this triggers the creation of osteoblasts—cells that synthesize new bone matter. Your jaw creates new bone to hold the implant in place.

Anchored Root

Once your jaw has healed, the implant is anchored. This process allows it to duplicate the bite strength of a natural tooth. This is something that dentures cannot do, as they rest on the mucous membranes inside your mouth, and rely on suction (or an adhesive) to hold them in place. Their available bite force is severely lacking compared to an implant. That bite force is experienced by the implant's ceramic tooth. As you're to have the damaged tooth extracted, it can be used as a template for its ceramic successor.

Ceramic Tooth

A dentist can use a digital intraoral scanner to create a 3D computerized model of the tooth prior to extraction. Alternatively, they can use dental putty to make a physical model. Some clinics then use an automated milling device that makes the crown onsite from a small piece of dental ceramic. Other clinics use an offsite laboratory that employs a ceramicist to handcraft the tooth. It's going to look just like the tooth it will be replacing, albeit minus the damage that led to the tooth's extraction—more like an idealized version of the tooth.


The prosthetic tooth is attached to the implant, which has a healthy collection of keratinized gum tissues at its base. Short of developing periodontal disease which results in gum recession (exposing the metallic implant), the titanium alloy screw and any metallic abutments remain permanently concealed by your gums. The prosthetic tooth must be kept clean, but won't look any different from a natural tooth.

Don't be the slightest bit concerned about any false teeth you've noticed in the past. Your own dental implant won't look anything like this, and only you and your dentist will ever know that one of your teeth is a collection of ceramic and titanium.

Contact a dentist today for more information on dental implants.