How To Make Sure A Dental Implant Won't Be Visible Through Your Gums

Posted on: 30 May 2023

Healthy gum tissues of adequate thickness are absolutely essential for a successful dental implant. Gum tissues regrow around the implant and help it to stabilize. They also form connective tissue at the base of the implant's false tooth, which ensures that it doesn't look false. The thickness (or lack thereof) of gum tissues impacts the natural appearance of a dental implant. This is a real concern for some patients, who might find that a titanium dental implant is in fact visible through their gum tissues.

The Presentation

A visible dental implant doesn't quite render the procedure useless. It's still a functional tooth root, embedded in the patient's jawbone, which allows it to replicate the bite strength of a natural tooth. But the presentation of the finished restoration is crucial, which is why your dentist or oral surgeon may take steps to prevent your dental implant from being visible through your gums—perhaps before the implant is even placed.

Manual Thickening 

You have the option of having your dentist manually thicken your gums. Remember that there's no practical way of triggering gum growth, so it's not as though the tissues can be stimulated to thicken themselves. Instead, additional gum tissues will be extracted from elsewhere in your mouth, although only a tiny amount of tissue specimens are needed.

Gingival Grafting

These harvested gum tissues will be grafted onto the outward-facing side of your gums at the site of the dental implant. This is the common method and is known as free gingival grafting. The harvested tissues are sutured into place and then integrate with your gums. The stitches may dissolve, or your dentist might need to remove them after healing. After healing, your gums will have achieved the necessary thickness to totally conceal your dental implant. However, grafting isn't the only option for disguising dental implants.

Implant Material

Instead of hiding the titanium portion of your dental restoration post-implantation, your dentist may recommend an implant that essentially hides itself, regardless of the thickness of your gum tissues. Titanium implants are not the only option. Zirconia is a type of ceramic (derived from zirconium oxide), and a prosthetic tooth attached to a dental implant can also be zirconia. But this is a light-colored material, and as such, won't be visible through gum tissues—even thinner than average gum tissues. A zirconia implant may cost a little more than its titanium version but is a logical solution to a potentially significant concern.

Depending on personal circumstances, it's possible for a dental implant to be visible through your gums. Luckily, it's also possible for a dentist to make your implant invisible. For more information on dental implants, contact a professional near you.