Dental Implants vs. Natural Teeth
Your natural teeth are perfectly designed to do a multitude of jobs. Every detail, from their roots to your enamel and the shape of each tooth itself, has a purpose. Each tooth plays a special role in helping you eat, like biting, cutting, and crushing food, but they also help you speak, express your emotions, and swallow. Your tooth roots even help keep your jawbone healthy. It’s amazing when you think about it! The enamel coating your teeth is designed to protect them and help them last a lifetime, but it’s not indestructible.
That’s where dentistry comes in. Dentists help you keep your teeth and gums healthy and can step in to restore your oral health if it’s suffering. Modern dentistry uses advanced technology to save or replace severely injured or decayed teeth. Tooth replacement options like dental implants have become particularly effective, so much so that many people faced with severely damaged teeth find themselves wondering if it’s better to simply replace their teeth with dental implants. If you’re faced with this decision, you might be wondering what the difference is between a natural tooth and an implant. We want to give you the best long-term outcome for your oral health, so to help you reach the best decision for you, we’ve put together the basics on the difference between implants and natural teeth.
Are dental implants better than natural teeth?
Dental implants do an amazing job of replacing natural teeth and fulfilling a lot of their functions. Since dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that replaces your tooth root as well as the chewing surface of your teeth, they feel more natural and fulfill more functions of your missing teeth than any other tooth replacement option. The biggest function they carry out that other treatments can’t is protecting your jaw from bone loss. The titanium metal that makes up the root of the implant is biocompatible, encouraging bone to grow around it to hold it in place, just like it would a natural tooth root. This gives the implant incredible stability, and with proper care, the implant will never need to be replaced! The restorations placed on each dental implant are designed specifically for you and are made of durable, natural-looking materials so no one will be able to tell the difference.
At the end of the day, however, dental implants are still replacements for the real deal—even though they’re very good ones. If you’re wondering which is better…it’s what nature gave you! This is why oral surgeons always try their best to save natural teeth. It’s simply better for your oral health in the long run if you can keep your natural teeth. When a tooth is damaged beyond redemption, though, a dental implant is the best replacement option out there!
How do implants and natural teeth compare?
In many ways, dental implants have the same aesthetic, tactile, and functional features as natural teeth. This is largely because dental implants are embedded directly into your jawbone like a natural tooth and are secured with restorations that are custom-made for you to match the shape, shade, and gloss of your remaining natural teeth or fit your preferred smile design. This allows implants to look and function like a natural part of your smile. So if you’re wondering, “Do teeth implants look natural?” The answer is yes! No one will be able to tell the difference between your implant and natural teeth. They’ll even function so well that you’ll be able to continue eating all of your favorite foods without worrying about whether or not they can handle it—even if you have implant-secured dentures.
Dental implants are the closest you can get to regaining your natural teeth, especially because of their ability to protect your jawbone and even reverse a small amount of bone loss, but they can’t quite match natural teeth in every way. Unlike natural teeth, dental implants don’t contain nerves, so they don’t have the same ability to register temperature and pressure that natural teeth do. You’ll still get information about pressure and temperature from the surrounding gum tissues, but this is a difference to be aware of if you’re wrestling with whether to save a tooth or replace it.
Are dental implants stronger than natural teeth?
When you examine the materials dental implants are made from, it’s clear they’re designed to last. The way your jawbone grows around the implant’s biocompatible titanium rod allows it to form a firmer root inside the gum, giving it the strength and durability to last a lifetime. The restorations placed on top of your implant are typically made of porcelain. Porcelain is stain-resistant and just about as strong as natural teeth, which means it can also chip, crack, or break under pressure. A good rule of thumb is to treat your restorations with the same care as natural teeth, so you should never treat them like tools to open packaging, crack nuts, or crunch down on ice.
But are dental implants stronger than natural teeth when it comes to decay? The answer is yes—in some ways. The restoration itself isn’t susceptible to decay and cavities like natural teeth are, so you don’t have to worry about developing a cavity in your implant. Despite this, meticulous oral care is still required for your dental implants, including daily flossing, brushing your teeth for two minutes twice daily, and using mouthwash daily. This is because you need to protect your gums and jawbone from bacterial attacks, whether or not you have dental implants. Severe gum disease, called periodontitis, can lead to bone loss and infections that could cause your implant to fail, so it’s important to keep up with a great oral hygiene routine every day.
What is it like to get a dental implant?
Getting dental implants is different for everyone because treatment time can vary based on the type of treatment you choose and how quickly you heal. Traditional implant placement can take several months because it consists of several surgical procedures, which each generally require more than a month of healing time. If you’re already suffering from bone loss in your jaw, you may also need bone grafts before you can receive dental implants, which adds extra time to the healing process. Many patients find that this treatment time is more than worth it because of the improved appearance, function, comfort, and longevity of dental implants. There are implant treatments that cut down on this treatment time, such as All-on-4, which allows you to get implant-supported dentures on just four implants in a single appointment. This is often suggested if you already have too much bone loss for traditional implant-supported dentures, though. If you have enough bone structure for traditional implants, you’ll get the most protection against future bone loss from them rather than treatments like All-on-4.
But what about after you’ve gotten your implants? Since dental implants don’t have nerves, you may find yourself wondering, “Can you feel a tooth implant? Do dental implants feel uncomfortable?” Your gums continue providing feedback about temperature and pressure, so you will still experience some sensations with implants. Your implants shouldn’t be uncomfortable, however, because they function just like natural tooth roots and are designed to fit in your mouth perfectly. You may need some time to adjust to the way your implants feel in your mouth, especially if you’ve been missing one or more teeth for a long time. But how long does it take to get used to dental implants? The answer is usually somewhere between one or two weeks after your final procedure. If your implants still feel uncomfortable after this, don’t be afraid to mention it to Dr. Bentz! He’ll be happy to take a look and make any necessary adjustments to your restorations.
Learn more about dental implants with the help of our Bentz Dental team.
Dental implants are the best tooth replacement modern dentistry has to offer, restoring the appearance, function, and feeling of natural teeth in more ways than any other treatment while protecting your oral and overall health for a lifetime. Despite this, they’re still not your natural teeth. In most cases, it’s best to save your natural teeth whenever possible. If you’d like to learn more about dental implants and whether or not they’re right for you, feel free to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bentz at any time.