Dental implant parts
Dental implants are lasting tooth replacement solutions that look and function just like natural teeth. Many people find that they are preferable alternatives to traditional dentures or bridges because once they are installed, they are extremely durable and require little in the way of special care. Consisting of three main parts, dental implants are created carefully over time. While they are not a quick fix, they are indeed a lasting one, and a solid solution to consider in consultation with your dentist.
Step 1: Installing the Implant Fixture
The first step in creating a dental implant is installing the implant fixture. This is a small piece that looks like a post or screw. It is most often made of titanium due to the high degree of biocompatibility that titanium has with the human body. This means that there is a vanishingly small chance of the body rejecting it.
First, the gums are opened up and the dental implant is installed during oral surgery. It is placed into the jawbone, mimicking the structure and function of roots; this is what gives the dental implant its strength and durability. Following surgery, the gumline will be stitched up and allowed to heal while the implant fixture becomes a part of the jawbone during a process called osseointegration (integration with the bone).
Step 2: Attaching the Abutment
After the implant fixture has merged with the jawbone, the abutment is attached to the implant fixture. Because the implant fixture is embedded below the gumline, the gumline must be surgically opened up again so that the abutment can be attached. Once fused in this way, the abutment is visible above the gumline. The abutment can be made of a number of materials, from titanium to zirconium to other metal and composite alloys. Like the implant fixture, it is a small post-like structure. It can be either prefabricated or custom-made to fit your precise anatomy. This is the structure that the implant crown or prosthesis will be attached to.
Step 3: Placing the Prosthesis
The final piece in the creation of a dental implant is the most visible one: the prosthesis or implant crown. This piece is made from either ceramic or a composite resin alloy designed to look like a natural tooth and is the face of the dental implant. During this final step, the implant crown is attached to the abutment.
The method of adhesion depends upon the implant’s placement in the mouth as well as personal preference; some choose to have the implant crown cemented on to the abutment, creating a permanent implant that cannot be removed, and some choose to have the implant crown attached via lag screws, which creates a removable implant. This decision should be made in close consultation with your dentist to decide which option is right for you.
Once the implant crown is attached, you will be able to leave your dentist’s office with an attractive, functional, and incredibly durable replacement tooth that will last you a lifetime.