Dear Dr. Reichwage,
Years ago, I lost several front teeth in an accident. They were replaced with implants, but the teeth my dentist put on the implants have never looked good, in fact, they bother me a lot because they don't look real. The color doesn't match my own teeth and the size isn't right somehow, but he says there's nothing else that can be done. Is that true?
Jim M., Fort Wayne
IMPLANTS CAN BE NATURAL LOOKING AND BEAUTIFUL
My team and I have pioneered a new technique that gives us the ability to place beautiful, all ceramic, completely natural-looking teeth on titanium implant posts. Our technique was featured in January's national clinical journal, "Dentistry Today," and was developed in coordination with an outstanding California ceramic laboratory.
Dentists had not been able to place natural-looking teeth on implant posts because the titanium metal could be seen through the ceramic tooth. Dentists were forced to use porcelain-over-metal crowns, which NEVER look real, because light cannot pass through them as it does through our own teeth. They always have an opaque, somewhat bluish cast and appear unreal.
I have included photos of the young lady for whom we developed this process:
The photo on the left shows her original porcelain-over-metal crowns, placed by her local family dentist, that probably look very much like your own. They are too dark and also proportionately too large to look natural.
In the right photo, you can see that you cannot detect her implants. They are properly sized and match her natural teeth even to the extent of matching the variations of shading or coloration present in her natural teeth.
Like you, she was unhappy with their appearance, and, like your dentist, her family dentist also told her nothing more could be done. That's when her oral surgeon referred her to me, and my team and I, working with an outstanding dental laboratory, created a completely natural-looking, beautiful smile for this young lady.
In my opinion, dentists learn basic skills in dental school, then must do on-going continuing education to stay abreast of the constant explosive growth of new techniques and new materials being developed by dental science, in order to achieve the opportunities of health and the quality of appearance that modern dentistry now makes possible for you and the rest of the public.