Dental implants look more like your natural teeth than any other tooth-replacement option, but not all of them look equally good. In fact, there are a lot of subtle things that an implant dentist can do to improve (or ruin) the appearance of your dental implants. Here are six of the most important.
Dental implants should be placed in such a way that they fit perfectly into the space left by your lost tooth or teeth. They should maintain the proper relation between your adjacent teeth so that they look like they belong there and can’t be picked out as not being a natural part of your smile.
Dental implants also need to have the proper angling to ensure they support your replacement tooth properly. If the angle of the implant is significantly off, it can affect the survival odds of your implant or even damage neighboring teeth, but even a small deviation from the true angle can affect the appearance of the implant.
Although surgical guides and other tools help ensure the proper placement of dental implants, the role of the surgeon in achieving proper placement cannot be underestimated.
The appearance of your gums around the dental implant is one of the most important, and hardest to control, aspects of your dental implant appearance. It involves nurturing your gum tissue and ensuring that the replacement tooth or teeth properly support the gums, including the delicate papillae that frame the teeth.
A skilled implant dentist can manage to achieve the proper contouring around a dental implant, but less skilled dentists can contribute to the collapse of the gums, leading to a less attractive smile.
Gum coloration can be hard to manage in some people. A titanium dental implant is a different color than your natural tooth root, and if your gums are translucent or thin, that can show through, resulting in a grey discoloration around the implant.
An experienced implant dentist can evaluate your gums and know when a metal-free dental implant is better for the aesthetics of your dental implant.
The coloration of the tooth can also be problematic. You want to make sure that it matches your other teeth properly, but you also want to make sure that it has the proper translucence to look like a natural tooth. Teeth whitening is often recommended before getting your dental implant, that way we can match the implant (which is stain resistant) to the color of your natural teeth at their whitest.
Ironically, to look like it’s one of your natural teeth, your dental implant has to not look like them. Or, rather, it has to look not exactly like them, but have a certain amount of individual character that represents the way each of your natural teeth is different, with their own unique traits gained from a lifetime of experience. This is one of the most artistic aspects of dental implants and can only really be judged by looking at before and after images.