Are you thinking of getting dental implants? You're likely wondering what it would actually feel like to have them.
This is a common question patients often come to us with. In fact, one of the first things we're typically asked during dental implant consultations is, "Will my implants feel like my 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 artificial crown is attached. Together, these three parts make up your replacement tooth and are designed to blend in with the surrounding natural teeth.
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.
This means that your dental implant will not feel exactly like your natural teeth, since natural teeth have nerves within them that feel sensations like temperature and pressure.
In spite of this difference, once your dental implant has healed, it will look and function much like your natural teeth do, and you probably won’t notice too much of a difference.
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.
Some people wonder if they'll be able to chew with their dental implants as they would with their natural teeth.
While it can take some time for your implants to fully heal, after the metal post has fused to the jaw bone and soft tissues have recuperated (typically after a few months), you should be able to chew with your implants just like you'd chew with your natural teeth.
In some cases, patients may be advised to stick to a soft diet for up to 6 weeks following the procedure. While the area is healing, just be careful about what and how you chew.