Dental Implant Parts
If you are considering dental implants to replace a missing tooth or teeth, it may be helpful to have a better understanding about what steps are involved and how dental implants work. To help provide a better understanding of how dental implants work, please refer to the following overview of the components of the implant and what function each component serves.
Dental implants are comprised of three parts: the fixture, the abutment, and the prosthesis.
Prior to placement of your prosthesis, a small hole is drilled into the jawbone where the missing tooth or teeth is located. Once this hole is drilled, the fixture, which is typically made of titanium, is placed, where it will then act as the new root of your tooth. It will take some time for this post to fuse with the surrounding jawbone, but once it has you will be ready to have the abutment and prosthesis placed. The reason titanium is most often used is because it is one of a few materials that is naturally accepted by the human body. Provided there are no complications with this part of the procedure, this titanium post is very resilient and will not likely need to be replaced, provided proper oral care is taken.
To support the tooth replacement, an abutment is placed, which extends above or at the gumline, to which the temporary tooth is placed. This abutment can either be a single integrated unit or a separate piece and may be made from a tooth-colored material or out of metal. Once the osseointegration process is completed and the fixture has had time to settle and heal, a final abutment is attached, which will connect the permanent crown to the fixture.
The prosthesis is the part of the dental implant that resembles and serves the same function as your natural teeth. There are a variety of materials this crown can be made of, but the most common are ceramic and porcelain. This crown will be secured using dental cement on the abutment or screwing the crown into the abutment. Once the final crown is adhered, you can return to eating, talking, and performing all your normal oral hygiene self-care habits, although you will need to modify your diet initially during the healing process.
Choose the Right Parts for Your Dental Implant
When deciding what type of material you want to use for your dental implant, it is important to keep in mind the importance of choosing materials that are durable and that will restore your smile’s natural appearance. Though there may be cheaper options available when it comes to choosing material types, using these type of materials may result in the implant degrading or becoming damaged more easily, requiring additional work and costing you more money in the long run.
If you have additional questions about how dental implants work, what type of implant is right for you, or what steps are involved in the dental implant procedure, schedule an appointment with your periodontist, who can answer any remaining questions you may have.