Many of the details of your upcoming procedure will be discussed during your first dental implant appointment. Although the general overview of a dental implant remains the same from patient to patient (a screw implanted in your jaw, with a prosthetic tooth then attached to that screw), each case is different. Sometimes the required angle of the implant can affect its aesthetics, and your dentist may be concerned that the implant will be visible through your gums. How can this potentially significant problem be overcome?
As Vertical as Possible
Many dental implants are as vertical as possible. The screw portion (generally made of a titanium alloy) is vertically implanted until its tip makes contact with your alveolar ridge (the part of your jawbone that hosts your dental sockets). The implant then begins the gradual process of integrating with the bone. After this has occurred, the implant will have the required stability to receive a prosthetic tooth, with all the bite pressure that this tooth will be subjected to. Totally vertical implantation isn't always possible though.
Your jawbone needs to have sufficient density to allow integration with the implant. Sometimes an additional procedure called bone grafting is needed. This is effective and straightforward, but can still be somewhat invasive, and extends the overall time before your implant is fully-operational. Many patients are able to receive their implant at an angle, with the implant being inserted through parts of the bone that are sufficiently thick, allowing them to avoid the need for bone grafting. This angle means that the implant may be closer to the outward surface of your gums than it otherwise would have been.
An angled implant won't be any less efficient than a totally vertical implant, and its functionality isn't in question. The dark color of a titanium alloy implant may be visible through your gingival tissues, creating what appears to be a discolored patch on your gums—and therein lies the problem. It may resemble gum disease or another comparable disorder, despite the fact that these assumptions couldn't be further from the truth.
Your dentist can technically thicken your gingival tissues via gum grafting—suturing gum tissues (extracted from elsewhere in your mouth) over the implant site. Like bone grafting, this can often be avoided, too. Instead, your dentist can utilize a zirconia implant. This is a zirconium oxide-based ceramic and is light in color. It's incredibly robust and will be undetectable beneath your gingival tissues, no matter how close to the surface the angle of the implant must be.
So when your dental implant must be placed at an angle, there doesn't have to be a telltale dark patch on your gums. A zirconia implant offers the necessary concealment for a totally natural-looking form of tooth replacement.
To learn more, reach out to a local dental clinic, such as Signature Dental.