What can you expect as your implants age?
New studies in the dental literature have reported on three natural structural changes involving implants. First of all, fifty percent of dental implants develop an open contact and food trap over time. This is called ‘mesial drift’ of the natural teeth in front of the implant. The natural teeth drift forward over time and the implant remains in the same place, anchored to bone, thus creating an open space. Secondly, just as recession and tissue loss occurs naturally, this also develops around the implant crown. The implant is cylindrical in shape and smaller in all dimensions than the tooth root that it replaced. This creates less support for the tissue and possible gaps under the crown over the years. And thirdly, face bone structure or craniofacial growth occurs throughout life. Mid-face growth sites in our maxilla, or top jaw, can cause anchored implant crowns in the front smile area to appear shorter than the teeth next to them. This is due to the movement forward of the surrounding natural teeth.
What are the solutions for these changes around implants?
If food begins to impact around implant crowns due to an open contact it is important to close the space. Many times, the crown can be removed and a contact easily added to the crown or the adjacent tooth. Another possibility is to replace the implant crown if the gap occurs under the crown at tissue level. I tell all of my implant patients to become good friends with their waterpiks or water flosser. If a front crown begins to appear shorter than the surrounding teeth due to facial growth, usually we replace the crown. It is important to be aware of the future maintenance of implants during the natural aging process.
World Class Dentistry® was founded in 1987. Together the husband-and-wife team of Dr. Jill Morris and Dr. Burr Bakke offer innovative, customized treatments ranging from implant surgery and prosthetics to cosmetic dentistry, laser periodontal treatment, adult and children nontraditional orthotropic orthodontics, and holistic dentistry. Two of their children will join their practice as dentists and another as the founding dental technician for the on-site laboratory, Higher Aesthetics.
About Dr. Bakke
- Fellow of American Dental Implant Association
- Fellow of International Congress of Oral Implantologists
- Fellow of the American Academy of Dental Facial Esthetics
- Member of American Academy of Implant Dentistry
- Post Doctoral Instructor of Full Mouth Reconstruction
- Member of International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine
- Practicing Dentistry for 34 years
3951 Swift Road Sarasota, FL 34231