Your dentist might have recommended a dental implant to replace missing teeth, but have you ever wondered what will help you feel comfortable living with an implant? Today, our Lethbridge periodontists discuss the main parts of a dental implant.
What is a dental implant?
Dental implants can be surgically placed into the jawbone as part of the process to replace a missing tooth and protect your oral health. When combined with a crown or other tooth replacement, implants have a natural look and feel.
They can help treat numerous oral health concerns, prevent surrounding teeth from moving, help resolve bite issues and jaw joint pain and help preserve the aesthetic appearance and tissue in a patient's facial area.
The implant itself (also referred to as the fixture) is typically made with titanium and surgically placed beneath the gums.
Shaped like a screw, the permanent implant will be placed in the jawbone after the surgeon drills a small hole to replace the missing tooth's roots. As the tissue heals, the fixture bonds to the jawbone in a process known as osseointegration, which allows the implant to sit in your mouth permanently.
Titanium is usually used since it's known to be well-accepted by the human body. Using proper materials increases the chance that osseointegration and other parts of the process will go smoothly, and reduces risk of corrosion and other complications.
An extender is attached to the false tooth since the implant itself is placed entirely beneath the gumline. Called the abutment, this short screw extends at or directly over the gum line to support the tooth replacement.
The abutment can be constructed from a tooth-coloured material or metal and is usually attached after osseointegration has occurred. That said, sometimes a dentist will place a fixture, abutment and temporary restoration at the same time.
3. Tooth Replacement
Three to six months after your surgery, you'll return to your dentist's office so the tooth replacement - a crown, bridge or denture - can be attached. The replacement (or prosthesis) will look and function similar to your natural teeth and can be made from porcelain, ceramic or other materials.
Your tooth replacement and the dental implant as a whole will work like a natural tooth and roots, which means you can chew and speak as you would normally - without the need to remove or replace false teeth.
Replace Missing Teeth to Preserve Your Oral Health
Whichever tooth replacement option you and your dentist decide is right for you, it's important to have missing teeth replaced as soon as possible to prevent deterioration in the jaw and gum tissues. If deterioration occurs, this can cause further complications for your oral and overall health and teeth surrounding the gap can shift out of position, which may lead to bite issues and uneven teeth.
At Lethbridge Peridontal, we're here to help diagnose any oral health issues you may have and determine the right treatment plan for you. If you are missing teeth or are experiencing other issues with your oral health, schedule a dental examination and cleaning today.