Does an Implant Look Like a Natural Tooth?

Does an implant look like the rest of your natural teeth? That’s a tricky question.

The honest answer is: sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. Some of the factors that affect the aesthetic outcome of your implant are:

Bone: Is there enough bone in the implant site to support the implant and gingiva (gums) around the area?

Gum Health: Gum disease is one of the biggest culprits of unsightly implants.  Gums are very sensitive, and gum disease can cause the gum to recede around the implant, exposing the metal abutments beneath.  

Dental Health: Are the natural teeth around the implant healthy? An implant can be matched to the shade of surrounding teeth, but visible decay or erosion on surrounding teeth can make the healthy-looking implant crown appear noticeably better.  However, a skilled ceramist can mimic natural stains and intricacies of a natural tooth to make an implant crown blend in seamlessly.

Gum Biotype: Everyone has a gum type, known as the ‘biotype,’ determined by genetics. Are the gums thick or thin? People with thin gum biotypes may experience gum recession around the implant crown. Special care needs to be taken with thin biotype to ensure  pleasing long term aesthetics.

Time: How long ago was the missing tooth removed? The closer to the time of tooth removal, the better the aesthetic outcome of the implant will be.

The Surgeon: The training of an implant surgeon goes beyond anatomy. They need to be trained in biology and aesthetics in order to not only place the implant properly but to instruct the technician to make the crown in a way that guarantees a beautiful outcome.

The Technician: The ceramist  is responsible for laying the porcelain of the crown in such a way that it mimics a natural tooth. A trained ceramicist will ensure the crown matches the shade, texture, shape, and translucency of a natural tooth as well as working with the surgeon’s instructions to make a crown that supports the gum surrounding the implant.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr Helen Voronina

Dr Helen Voronina is the principal dentist at "Dr Helen's Dental & Implant Studio". Having graduated from the University of Melbourne and later from the Brener Implant Institute, in her practice she places emphases on the implant, aesthetic and reconstructive dentistry. She is a member of the Australian Dental Association, The International Congress of Implantology and The Australian Society of Implant Dentistry (ASID). She is a former chairperson for the National Dental Foundation and an official dentist for the Melbourne Hearts Football Club.