Dental implants have become one of the most sought-after options for patients needing to replace one or more missing teeth. In the past, when you were missing a tooth, your only options were to have a fixed bridge placed or wear a partial denture. If you needed a bridge, you might not have had enough healthy teeth to hold onto the restoration, causing the need for a denture. Nowadays, dental implants have truly revolutionized the industry and have helped patients to retain full, healthy smiles without the worry of removable appliances. Understanding how an implant looks and how they work can help you to make your decision on whether they’re right for you.
The Implant Post
The main component of the implant is its post. Implant posts are often made out of titanium, providing a strong and highly-durable material for the actual restoration. The implant is placed deep into the bone of the jaw and given time after surgery to heal. While the implant heals, it will naturally fuse and bond with the surrounding bone to create a secured anchor for whatever type of restoration will be placed on top.
The second part of the implant is the abutment, and this is attached to the implant’s post and comes up above the gums. The abutment is what will hold onto the restorations being used. The abutment’s job is to keep the restoration securely in place and provide an area for a crown or bridge to be bonded into the mouth so that it does not fall out.
The Crown, Bridge or Denture
Once the implant’s post has healed and an abutment placed, the final part of the implant procedure is to add the actual restoration. For most patients, this will be a crown or bridge. The crown or bridge is bonded onto the abutment of the implant and made specifically for you so that it fits and feels as natural as possible. For denture wearers, a new set of dentures can be made that will essentially clip onto the implants to keep the appliance in place without the need for gels, adhesives and creams. The implant itself can last for decades without needing repair or replacement, but the crown, bridge or denture used on top of the implant will need to be replaced more frequently to keep your smile looking its best.