If you’re missing teeth, you’re not alone! It’s estimated that 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. Thankfully, dental implants offer a permanent, natural-looking tooth replacement solution that not only improves the look of your smile but also helps maintain overall oral health. Whether you need to replace one tooth, several teeth, or an entire arch, Dr. Bedich and his team at The Center for Progressive Dentistry in Cortland can help. Here, Dr. Bedich explains the parts that make up a dental implant.
The Parts of a Dental Implant
Whereas traditional tooth replacement options are removable or require that neighboring teeth be used as a support, dental implants are attached to the jawbone, creating a stable foundation for a prosthetic tooth restoration. Dental implants are comprised of three components: the fixture, abutment, and replacement tooth or teeth (prosthesis).
The implant fixture is a titanium post that is surgically inserted into the jawbone during the first phase of dental implant treatment. This post acts as the foundation for your new tooth, or set of teeth, by replacing the missing natural tooth root. Because the fixture is made of a biocompatible metal, it interacts with the jawbone just like a natural tooth root would, encouraging bone regrowth during the process of osseointegration.
Osseointegration is a naturally-occurring process that plays an especially important role in dental implant success. During this process, the bone grows around the titanium post and creates a strong base for the rest of your new tooth.
Once the fixture has successfully integrated into the jawbone, the next component, called the abutment, is attached to the fixture. The abutment is a small piece that connects the implant to the crown or denture, allowing your new tooth to sit properly on top of the gum line. This connective piece is essential for securing your future restoration to the implant fixture.
The Prosthesis – Crown, Bridge or Denture
The final part of your dental implant is the prosthetic tooth replacement, which will be attached to the implant by the abutment. This prosthesis can be a crown to replace a single tooth, a bridge to replace several neighboring teeth, or a full-arch denture. Custom made for each individual, your replacement teeth are designed to blend in seamlessly with your smile and function just like your real teeth.