Dental Implant Parts
What are Dental Implants Made of?
Dental implants have been used by dentists for many years as alternatives to dentures and bridges. Dental implants are often a first choice for people missing teeth because they are natural looking with good functionality. Typically implants are comprised of three parts: a crown, an abutment, and the body.
The body of an implant is often constructed from titanium (you might recognize this expensive material as what’s used in making racing cars). Titanium is ideal for use in the construction of dental implants because it is both light and durable, and it also biocompatible - which means that our human bodies do not usually reject it.
If you are considering dental implants it is helpful to understand their different components.
Choosing safe, durable parts for dental implants is an important part of having confidence. Implants can help create a smile you can be confident about for a lifetime. Implants have three main parts:
- Fixtures: A dental fixture is the implant itself and is actually just a small screw placed under the gums. After drilling a small hole (where the roots of the now missing tooth once were) a dentist will surgically place the fixture into the jawbone itself to function as the new roots for the the implant. During the healing process the fixture will fuse with the jawbone in a process known as osseointegration. This fusing will allow for the implant to become a permanent fixture in the mouth. Titanium is often used for the construction of implant fixtures to allow for optimal osseointegration, and to decrease risks of any corrosion.
- Abutments: During typical implant procedures fixtures are placed under the gumline, and so a connector is needed for correct attachment of a newly fabricated tooth. This connective piece, also sometimes called an extender, is known as the abutment, which is just a small screw extending just enough above the gum-line to support the attachment of the replacement. Abutments are often made of tooth-colored materials - or sometimes metal - and can they can be single units, or can be separate from the fixtures themselves. Usually an abutment isn’t attached to the fixture until after osseointegration has happened to ensure proper healing and settling of the fixture. In some instances a dentist will place a fixture, an abutment, and a restoration that is temporary.
- Prostheses: A prosthesis is the part of an implant that looks and functions like a natural tooth does. A prosthetic tooth can me constructed from various materials. Porcelain and ceramic protheses are most common. With these materials a cementing process is often used to attach the prothesis to the abutment. Alternatively, sometimes the prosthesis is screwed into place. Since dental implants have been designed to function like real teeth, each piece of a dental implant is designed to be durable and should last a lifetime.
Dental implants are meant to allow a person to talk, eat, and perform normal oral hygiene practices without a need for removing or replacing false teeth, and are favored by many people because of their permanence and functionality.