Dental implants are a great solution for people with missing teeth or who have damaged teeth that will need extracted. They provide many advantages over traditional methods of teeth replacement including being able to chew better, prevention of bone loss, and a more natural appearance. Because of this, many people are inquiring about implants and want to learn more about how they work.
Montclair Plaza Dental Group offers many dental implant options at their Montclair, CA dentist office. A dental implant is not actually the replacement tooth, it is simply one component. To help patients better understand how dental implants work, below is a description of each part that makes up a dental implant supported prosthesis.
Parts of a Dental Implant Supported Prosthesis
A dental implant is comprised of 3 separate parts; the implant post, the abutment, and the prosthesis.
Dental Implant Post
Even though dental implant is the term typically used to refer to the entire replacement tooth, it is just one part. A dental implant is a metal post that looks like a screw and is surgically placed in the jaw bone. This metal post is made of titanium, a type of metal known for its strength and is easily accepted by the human body.
Once placed into the jaw bone, the bone cells will attach themselves to the implant during a process called osseointegration. This creates a very strong bond and a very stable base to support a dental prosthesis. It actually replaces the missing tooth’s root structure and is the only tooth replacement option to do so. This will prevent bone loss in the jaw, a major downfall with other dental restorations.
An abutment is a small metal piece that acts as the connecting element to join the prosthesis to the implant. This part can either be placed during the implant surgery or during a second minor surgery after the implant has healed and fused with jaw bone, about three to six months. If placed during a second surgery, the implant will be exposed with a small incision and the abutment will be screwed or cemented to it. It takes about four to six weeks for the gums around the abutment to heal. The abutment will sit right at the gum line and will support the dental prosthesis.
The prosthesis will replace the teeth and is the last part to be secured. Dental prostheses are made from a variety of materials that will look just like natural teeth. The type of prosthesis you will need depends on the number and location of your missing teeth. This also dictates how many implants will be surgically placed in the jawbone.
A dental crown is used when a single tooth is missing. One implant will be needed to support the crown, which will be cemented or screwed onto the abutment. For multiple consecutive missing teeth, at least two dental implants will be needed to secure a dental bridge. If you are missing most or all of a row of teeth, a partial or full denture will be used. The number of dental implants required to secure the prosthesis will vary based on volume of bone density and placement. This could be as little as two and up to eight implants.