Patients who are considering dental implants to restore the appearance and function of their smile may be wondering exactly what dental implants are. Here, our Richmond dentist explains the different parts that make up dental implants.
1 - The Implant
Dental implants consist of 3 main parts. The first of which is the actual implant itself. The implant is a tiny titanium screw that is surgically placed in the jaw where the root of the missing natural tooth would have been. The implant forms a stable base or 'root' to which an artificial tooth can be attached.
Titanium is 'biocompatible' with the surrounding tissue, which means that, over time the screw will become integrated with the jaw bone.
2 - The Abutment
After about 4 - 6 months, once the implant portion of the process has had an opportunity to heal properly, the next part of the dental implant can be added.
The second piece of the dental implant is a titanium or ceramic abutment. The abutment is a small connector that secures the artificial tooth to the dental implant.
3 - The Restoration
Once the abutment is securely in place and properly healed, a restoration will be fitted to the abutment. The restoration can be a crown, bridge or denture depending on how many teeth are being replaced.
A dental crown will be attached to the abutment if a single tooth is being replaced.
Dental crowns are typically ceramic, or a mixture of metal and porcelain. To create a natural looking tooth replacement, the crown will be is screwed or cemented onto the abutment.
A dental bridge is a restoration that can be used for patients looking to replace a number of teeth in a row.
To blend in with the natural teeth, dental bridges are typically made from porcelain. A bridge is able to replace several teeth with just two implants to hold it securely in place.
When all of the teeth in the jaw are being replaced, an implant supported denture can be an ideal restoration option.
While conventional dentures rest on the gums and are held in place by suction, implant supported dentures are secured in place with dental implants.
Implant supported dentures are a full set of plastic or porcelain teeth which are attached to a gum-coloured acrylic base. Implant supported dentures can give patients a natural looking smile.