Dental implants are a three-piece prosthesis. The first and most important part of a dental implant is the screw or the post that inserts into the jawbone. The second part is the abutment, which connects the post to the third part, the dental crown. Sometimes, the abutment connects the post to a denture or a dental bridge.
If you are considering replacing one or more teeth with dental implants, the following information will help you to understand the three components and how they work.
The post or screw
The post is the main component of a dental implant. The dental implant post is made of titanium, which is a biocompatible metal used in surgical applications such as hip joint replacements and dental implants.
During the first stage of dental implant placement, the dental surgeon inserts the dental implant post into the jawbone. Dental implants may be larger or smaller, depending on where the dental surgeon inserts them. Once inserted into the jawbone, the posts take several months to heal and fuse to the jawbone.
Once the posts have fully integrated with the jawbone, the next two components can be added to the implant. However, in some cases, the abutment may be added at the same time as the post.
The abutment attaches to the titanium post of a dental implant. The abutment usually has a clip which then attaches to a dental crown, a denture or a dental bridge. The abutments that attach the posts to dentures are shaped differently from those that attach the posts to bridges or crowns.
When you are replacing a single tooth with a dental implant, the final component is a dental crown, which serves as the upper portion of the tooth. Dental implants can also be used for dental bridges, especially when a patient wishes to replace two or more teeth. A dental bridge may consist of a crown that fits onto the dental implant, and a false tooth that fills an adjacent gap.
For patients that wish to stabilize their dentures or have new implant-supported dentures fitted, two to four dental implants are necessary to stabilize a denture for a single arch. Dental implant-supported dentures can be removable or fixed. The choice depends on the patient's preference.
Dental implants are versatile and sturdy, which means that no matter how few or many teeth you have lost, there is a suitable option for you.