Implant crowns are the face of dental implants, though you would never know by looking at them. Due to the structural support of the other parts of the dental implant, they not only look and act just like natural teeth, they are also built to last a lifetime. If you would like to replace a missing tooth or even multiple teeth, dental implants might be the perfect solution for you.
The creation of a dental implant
Dental implants are composed of three primary parts: the implant fixture, the abutment, and the implant crown. They are also installed in a three-step process that can take anywhere from six to eight months to complete. While it takes some time, those that have benefitted from the durable and attractive end result will tell you that it’s well worth the wait.
First, the implant fixture is surgically installed below the gumline into the jawbone. While this piece will never be visible following this stage, it serves a very important purpose, integrating itself into the jawbone and providing the same deep structural support that the roots of your teeth provide. Following this procedure, the gumline is stitched up over the implant fixture and allowed to heal while the implant fixture merges with the hard tissue of the jawbone.
Second, the gums are opened up again so that the abutment can be attached to the implant fixture. The abutment is small, post-like piece that serves as the connector between the implant fixture and the implant crown. At this stage, either a healing collar or a temporary crown will be placed to cover the abutment while the gumline heals, which usually takes between four and six weeks.
While your gumline is healing, your dentist will make an implant crown to complete the process. This implant crown is attached to the abutment during the third and final step in the process of creating a dental implant. Typically made of either porcelain, ceramic, or a composite resin, the implant crown is custom-made to fit your oral anatomy and shaded to match your existing teeth. With the support of the other pieces in place, this replacement tooth is just as strong and durable as a regular tooth.
Types of implant crowns
There are two main types of implant crowns, depending on one’s preferences regarding removability. Implant crowns can be cemented to the abutment to create a permanent fixture in the mouth that cannot be removed for any reason, or they can be made to snap in and out. The benefit of removable implant crowns is that they can be removed to be repaired or replaced, whereas permanent implants have to be repaired in place just as your natural teeth do. As the creation of implant crowns takes at least two to three weeks, this decision should be made by the time the abutment is installed so that the implant crown is ready when you are. For more information about what kind of implant crown might work best for you, call your dentist for an individualized consultation.