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How are Real Teeth and Implants Different?

When looking at implants versus teeth, it is very important to consider the differences between them. There are many differences.

One difference that's very important for us as Dawson Dentists to consider is that a tooth has a periodontal ligament, the PDL. An implant does not.

An implant is essentially an ankylosed unit.

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Why is a PDL very important?

Well, there's a couple of reasons.

Number one, it acts like a cushion. So when we exert forces on our teeth, a tooth can displace axially about 25 to 100 micrometers, whereas an implant is essentially 3 to 5 micrometers. That's a big difference. So the cushioning of the PDL is one thing to consider.

The other thing with the PDL is that it has mechanoreceptors in it, which helps us determine the amount of force on the tooth and also helps to regulate our chewing. An implant, there's no mechanoreceptors. So this puts an implant at very high risk for occlusal overload.

Some things to consider when restoring implants:

Number one, when you're having your lab make a crown, have them take it just out of occlusion. I tell my lab to provide two to four shim stock relief to take it just out of occlusion. This will then account for the fact that when we bite down, our teeth compress, then the implants will come in contact.

Second thing I heard Dr. Scott Finlay discuss at Esthetic Foundations 1 is that, when you're looking at a T-Scan, what you want is that the implant crowns to be the last ones to come into contact and the first ones to leave.

Hopefully these tips will help when you're deciding on how to restore an implant and when you're choosing between an implant or a tooth.

Dental Implants for the General Dentist

Picture of Dr. Pio Modi

Dr. Pio Modi is the Associate Director of the Ambassador Program for the Dawson Academy and the Study Club leader for the Toronto Club. He maintains a private practice in Brantford, Ontario, Canada with a specific focus on Full Arch Restorative, Cosmetic and Implant/Surgical Dentistry.