With more than 178 million Americans missing one or more teeth (and 35 million having no teeth at all,) dental implants are becoming increasingly common today. However, many people don't know much about them beyond the fact that the implants serve as permanent dentures or teeth replacements. Before you opt for dental implants, it is always best to learn a bit more about exactly what you're putting into your mouth. Dental implants are made of three distinct parts, all of which play an essential role. Read on to find out about the three parts of a dental implant.
Dental implant screws act as the primary support in the implant. These screws are drilled into place within the jaw, leaving the point of the screw exposed just above the gums. Dental implant screws are typically made of titanium, which is a biocompatible metal that is well-tolerated by the human body. Once the screw is securely sutured into the proper position, the patient will generally have a couple of weeks to heal before the next two components of the implant are installed.
The abutment is a tooth-shaped piece of either titanium or porcelain with threads inside it. Titanium is sturdier than porcelain, and is generally the preferred choice for that reason. The abutment winds directly onto the implant screw. Abutments are considerably smaller than the natural teeth they are replacing so as to allow extra room for the next part of the implant: The crown.
The crown is the part of the implant that replicates the natural tooth. Crowns are typically crafted from porcelain. While porcelain is a delicate material, it is the best possible material for the creation of natural-looking teeth. In some cases, the crown may be crafted from porcelain that is fused with a small amount of titanium metal alloy for extra strength. The crown part of the implant is placed directly over the abutment using dental cement.
When the Three Parts Unite
With its three distinct components, a dental implant is a somewhat complex tooth replacement. However, dental implants are an excellent solution for anyone looking for long-term results. Dental implants may require periodic adjustments to keep them firmly attached in the correct position, but most dental implants will last at least a decade - and maybe an entire lifetime. Call your local dentist to discuss whether dental implants are the right solution for you!