A typical dental implant has three separate components. These are the implant screw or post, an abutment that fits onto the post, and the final implant restoration. Dental implants can be restored with a crown, bridge, or denture.
An implant screw or post is surgically inserted into the jawbone. It is designed to replace a natural tooth root and has a tapered end. An implant post is usually around 18mm long and gets much of its strength and stability from the post length.
A huge range of implant posts is available, and they come in different diameters. Our experienced implant dentists will ensure that you receive the correct sized post, so, for example, if you need a small lower incisor replaced, we can fit a dental implant with a narrower body designed to fit into a smaller space.
The implant screw is hollow, so we can screw an abutment onto it. Sometimes, the abutment is fitted soon after surgery. Other times, the implant is covered with gum or has a healing cap fitted, and the abutment is placed later once we are ready to restore the dental implant.
There is a wide selection of implant abutments, and our choice depends on the implant system used and your final restoration. For example, the implant abutment fitted to support a single dental crown differs from those used to support a denture.
An abutment used to hold a new implant crown protrudes above the gum, so it looks like a stubby tooth. Abutments used to support dentures can support a bar, so the denture clips onto the bar or fits into special attachments on the fitting surface of the denture.
An implant restoration can be a dental crown, bridge, or denture.
If you only need a single implant, it will be restored with an implant crown. If you require multiple teeth restored and where they were originally side by side, we can fit an implant bridge, so not every tooth will need to be replaced with a dental implant.
Dental implant crowns and bridges are made from precious metal covered by porcelain or can be entirely metal-free, depending on your preference and budget. Both these restorations are permanently fixed in the mouth and can only be removed by an implant dentist if any maintenance is needed.
An implant denture is made from acrylic, just like an ordinary denture, but has special attachments so it clips onto the implants or a bar fitted over them. It is removable and must be taken out regularly for cleaning.
Some Implants Have a Two-Piece Design
Some dental implants, for example, mini dental implants, have a two-piece design. Instead of the implant screw and abutment being separate components, they are fabricated as a single unit. The implant restoration then fits directly onto the implant.
Most dental implants are made from titanium alloy, but some are made from zirconia, a strong ceramic material. Zirconia dental implants can also be fabricated as a two-piece design.
When you visit Riverside Oral Surgery, we can discuss the implant system that most suits your oral health needs, explain why, and show you some examples. Our implant dentists are experienced in using a broad range of dental implant systems, ensuring you receive the best option to restore dental health and provide an optimal treatment outcome