The Truth About Dental Implants

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Can A Dental Implant Be Too Shallow?

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The objective of a dental implant is to give you a replacement tooth that has the same form and function as a natural tooth. Functionality is largely achieved by the implant itself, which is placed in your jawbone and acts as the prosthetic's tooth root. To install the implant, your dentist will make a guide hole, which determines the location of the implant's placement. However, sometimes an implant may be too shallow, which can result in a few complications.

Interdental Papilla

If a dental implant is in fact too shallow, the interdental papilla (the slivers of gum between your teeth) will often fail to properly regenerate after implant placement. The artificial nature of the prosthetic tooth then becomes very conspicuous. Without this interdental papilla, the base of the prosthesis (and its margins that differ from a natural tooth) can be visible. For now, the functionality of the implant and its prosthetic tooth aren't in jeopardy, but that can change. There's also the issue of the unappealing look of the finished product. This is known as a problem with the implant's emergence profile—the physical appearance of the prosthetic tooth as it emerges from the gum line.

Unanticipated Outcomes

There are a range of dental implants services that can correct an unanticipated outcome of the procedure. A dentist will first rule out other potential causes for a lack of interdental papilla. For example, the depth of the implant may not even be an issue if your gums have begun to recede. Instead of unnecessarily adjusting the implant (which is already at its optimal depth), a dentist may perform a gingival graft (grafting gum tissues onto the deficient site). An x-ray will also be performed to ensure that the implant hasn't migrated after placement.

Correcting a Shallow Implant

If the implant was in fact placed with inadequate depth, it must be corrected. The exposed margin of the implant can permit bacterial contamination of the implant's surfaces, which makes you far more susceptible to infection. These exposed margins also create a food trap, which can be difficult for you to clean. The depth of the implant will be confirmed via x-ray, and it may need to be removed and replaced. Implants are available in varying depths and widths, so it will be replaced with a unit of an appropriate dimension to support the prosthetic tooth, while also permitting the growth of interdental papilla.

A shallow implant may still work, but it's at an increased risk of future complications. It should always be inspected and corrected as needed. Look into dental implants services for more information.