If you're considering dental implants to restore the look and function of your smile you may be wondering exactly what dental implants are. Here our Surrey dentist explains the parts that make up these natural looking tooth replacements.
The actual implant portion of the dental implant is a tiny screw that is surgically placed in the jaw where the root of the missing natural tooth would have been. The implant forms a stable base, or 'root', to which an artificial tooth can be attached.
The implant is made from titanium which is 'biocompatible' with the surrounding tissue. Biocompatible means that the implant is not harmful to the surrounding tissue and will become integrated with the jaw bone over time.
After approximately 4-6 months, once the implant has had time to heal, the next stage of the dental implant procedure can take place.
This is when a small titanium connector called an abutment can be attached to the dental implant. The abutment secures the artificial tooth to the dental implant.
A dental crown, bridge or denture will be fitted to the abutment in the final step.
In cases where a single tooth is being replaced a dental crown will be attached to the abutment to form a natural looking tooth replacement.
The crown is usually ceramic or a mixture of metal and porcelain, and will be screwed or cemented onto the abutment to hold it in place.
When a number of teeth in a row are being replaced, a dental bridge may be used.
A bridge is typically made of porcelain, colour matched to blend in with your natural teeth. A bridge can replace several teeth with just two implants to hold it in place.
If all of the teeth in the jaw are being replaced, an implant supported denture may be used.
Implant supported dentures are a full set of plastic or porcelain teeth attached to a gum-coloured acrylic base and secured in place with dental implants.