Dental implants explained
A dental implant is a fixture that is surgically placed into your jawbone, where it takes a few months for your bone tissue to fuse to the post. An abutment and crown are placed on top to finish the procedure.
For replacing missing teeth, dental implants are a great way to go because the implants look, feel, and function like natural teeth. And unlike removable dental appliances, like dentures and bridges, implants are permanent. A dental implant is a simple appliance that does a fine job of mimicking the root and natural crown of a real tooth.
The implant is made up of three parts: the post, an abutment, and a crown.
The implant’s screw-shaped post is made of a titanium alloy or pure titanium. While you’re under local or general anesthesia, the post is surgically embedded into your jaw. The body doesn’t recognize titanium as a foreign substance, so the jawbone grows around the post. This makes the implant very stable and secure.
When your jawbone fuses with the implant post, an incision is made into the covering gum, and an abutment is attached to the top of the post. This part of the implant protrudes through the gum and holds the implant crown.
The crown, or restoration, is part of the dental implant. The implant crown sits above the gum and is attached to the abutment. You’ve got two choices on how to secure the crown to the implant. You can screw it in or cement it.
Screwing lets you easily repair or replace the crown if it becomes damaged or if it wears down. The access hole for the screw is sometimes slightly visible even though it’s covered with a tooth-colored filling.
When the crown is cemented, there is no access hole, but sometimes cement can cause gum inflammation and, rarely, bone loss. The best method depends on the condition of your mouth and the location of the implant, and we talk with you about which way we recommend for securing your implant crown.
Dental implants are considered the gold standard of tooth replacement because they:
- Protect against or retard jawbone erosion
- Stay put when eating or talking
- Prevent neighboring teeth from shifting
- Prevent your face from changing shape
- Are maintained like your natural teeth with brushing and flossing
- Typically last a lifetime