Dental implant components
Dental implants offer a variety of benefits for individuals who wish to replace one or more missing teeth. However, to truly understand why dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement options, we need to closely examine each part of the dental implant. Taking a deeper look at each component and understanding how they work together to support the overall restoration will help you appreciate dental implants even more.
Mainly, dental implants are composed of three parts: the implant fixture (implant body), the abutment, and the dental crowns.
Implant Fixture (Implant Body):
This is a small, cylindrical screw that is implanted into the jawbone to act as an artificial root for the teeth. As the fixture is designed to mimic the natural function of tooth roots, it is inserted into the bone and is not visible in the oral cavity. Implant fixtures are typically made of titanium due to its biocompatibility. In some cases, they may be coated with hydroxyapatite, aiding in the integration of the implant with the surrounding bone.
This component of the implant comes in various sizes, depending on the tooth or teeth being replaced. For example, an incisor may use a smaller dental implant fixture, while a molar will generally require a larger implant screw. Among all options for replacing missing teeth, dental implants are the only restoration with a component that functions as the natural roots of the teeth. After the implant fixture is placed into the jawbone, it will fuse with the surrounding bone in a process called osseointegration. Once the implant fixture has integrated, it will function much like a natural tooth root, enabling natural chewing function and a lifelike appearance.
Since the implant fixture is entirely below the gumline, an extension device is needed to attach the false tooth to it. This connector, known as the abutment, is a short screw that extends above the gumline to support the dental crown. It is mainly made of metal and can either be separate from the implant fixture or an integrated single unit.
A separate abutment is usually attached only after osseointegration has taken place, giving the implant enough time to secure itself into the bone. However, some dentists choose to place the implant fixture, abutment, and a temporary restoration simultaneously.
The crown is the part of a dental implant that looks and functions like a real tooth. It can be made from a variety of materials, such as zirconia or ceramic, and can be either screwed or cemented onto the abutment.
Dental crowns are generally used to replace a single tooth or multiple non-adjacent missing teeth, while dental bridges are typically used to replace two or more adjacent missing teeth. Dentures can also be fixed onto implants.