Under Pressure: What’s That Strange Sense of Excess Pressure on Your New Dental Implant?

The finishing touch for your dental implant procedure is the addition of your new dental crown—which is the prosthetic tooth attached to the implant. With the dental implant in your jaw serving as an artificial tooth root and the dental crown acting as a replacement tooth, everything should feel as though a new natural tooth has regrown in your jaw. So why do your jaw and your new implant feel a little strange when you close your mouth?

Curious, Uneven Pressure

By the time your final dental crown is added to your implant, your jaw will have adequately healed around the implant's base, which holds it in position and allows it to support the bite pressure experienced by its dental crown. What feels like curious, almost uneven pressure centered around your new implant has nothing to do with the healing process, which should be complete by this point. 

Vertical Dimensions

This strange feeling of uneven pressure may be related to the dental crown attached to your implant, and more specifically—its vertical dimensions. A crown attached to an implant is fabricated out of porcelain and is designed to be a replica of the natural tooth that was once in the site now occupied by the implant and its crown. A small problem can develop when the specifications of the crown are slightly incorrect.

Fractionally Taller

If the dental crown is fractionally taller than the natural tooth it's replacing, it can make premature contact with the opposing tooth in the opposite dental arch. Your dental arch is the curved ridge of bone and gingival tissue (your gums) that hosts your dental sockets—and now, also your dental implant and crown. You have upper and lower arches. The opposing tooth is the one that's directly opposite. For example, if your dental implant and crown replaced your upper (maxillary) left first premolar, the opposing tooth would be your lower (mandibular) left first premolar. The crown is too high, and so it makes contact with its opposing tooth prior to the other teeth in your dental arches making contact with their opposing numbers. 

Premature Contact

This premature contact is creating the strange sense of uneven pressure on your crown and implant, and it can even feel like your bite is out of alignment. Serious complications are unlikely, although it's possible that excessive pressure directed onto your crown and implant could eventually weaken the implant's connection with your jaw. The main concern is your comfort, so please report any concerns to your dentist. The crown can often be resized to correct its vertical dimensions, and can even be replaced if needed. 

A sense of uneven, excessive pressure on a newly-completed dental implant isn't a reason to be alarmed, but it should be reported to your dentist as soon as possible. A slightly too-big implant doesn't cause any pain but can be a bit uncomfortable. Your dentist can help you adjust the size of the dental implant so that your tooth is exactly what you need.