Biological Dentistry Blog

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Gray Gums from Dental Implants: How to completely avoid the visible metal in your smile

Gray Gums from Dental Implants:  How to completely avoid the visible metal in your smile
Published May 15, 2019

If you’ve decided to replace missing or damaged teeth with dental implants, you’ve already made a good choice.

So why’d you pick dental implants over other teeth replacement options?

Maybe to completely restore your chewing ability? For sure.

Perhaps to prevent more bone loss? Yea, why not.

Maybe to save surrounding teeth from damage? Sounds right.

But if you’re like many, the most obvious reason your choice was only ever going to be dental implants was because they look just like real teeth. 

They give you your beautiful smile back as if it was never gone!  

So, if after your procedure, you can’t wait to see your smile and then you look in the mirror to find a brand new problem staring back at you… I can totally understand your disappointment.

Let’s look at what this “gray gum” phenomenon really is and if you already have it, we’ll go over ways to potentially have it fixed.

BUT… If you haven’t gotten your implants yet, let’s talk about how to make sure you never even have to think about it.

The phenomenon

Most practices that place dental implants have likely gotten patient emails like this one:

“I was really looking forward to finally getting implants to replace the teeth I lost years ago, but I was not expecting my gums to look like this.  Even though the implants aren’t in the front of my mouth, the gray gums are really noticeable when I smile. It’s embarrassing to me, I’m just waiting for someone to say something.” -Andrea

Historically, surgeons had little to no control over metal implants showing through gum lines.

As one doctor said of the phenomenon:

“It’s one of the classic nuisances in dentistry.  The final position of where your gum will heal to is as unpredictable as Florida weather.  (I still don’t know what a 30% chance of rain means. Does that mean I will only get soaked from the head to mid-chest area?)”

In other words, implant surgeons know where the metal of the implant will stop, but as you heal, they don’t know for sure where your gum line will begin.  And as hard as this is to predict at the time of your surgery, it’s even harder to predict where your gums will lay when they recede with time.

Other patients run into the problem of simply having thinner or more translucent gums than others and it doesn’t matter how far up a surgeon places that implant, metal will always show through.

Methods your doctor can use to hide exposed metal

Gum graft

You can undergo a small surgical procedure that drags your gum line over the metal, than healthy gum tissues can be transplanted to plumpen your gums.  

Reposition the implant

Your surgeon can remove your existing crown, then adjust the position of your metal implant so your gum covers it.  A new crown is then made and placed on top of the repositioned implant.

Treat Periodontal Disease

Your gums can recede due to underlying gum disease.  Once infected gums are treated, the gums often revert back to where they once were and hopefully no more metal will be exposed.

If you haven’t yet gotten your implants...

Take that dark gray metal out of the equation completely.

Zirconia (ceramic) dental implants are made of all-white ceramic, so there’s nothing to hide. They are the absolute closest thing to having real teeth.

Receding gums?  No problem.

Gums thinning over time?  Don’t worry about it.

Completely translucent gums? Kinda weird, but still - no sweat!

Dr. Douglas Snyder, an expert in the field with over 30 years experience placing dental implants says of ceramic implants:  

“They’re the much more aesthetic option compared to metal, which really is a big deal.  The darkness of the metal with titanium implants can often be visible. With ceramics, my patients never have to worry about that.”

-Dr. Douglas Snyder, owner of Douglas Snyder DDS in Elkhart, Indiana

Get that big, bright white smile you’ve been dreaming of and never hide anything about it!

Schedule an appointment with your ceramic implant expert today.

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