What Are Dental Implants

By: Mel Joelle


Dental implants are the newest alternative to replacing missing teeth that prosthetic dentistry has to offer. They are surgically placed in the jawbone and are designed to replace the missing root part of the tooth. Dental implants are used for an individual crown or for additional support to dentures. In addition, dental implants can be considered if you have failing teeth and are not a good candidate for bridges. Depending on the type of dental implant you receive, you may be required to make multiple trips to the dentist to complete the process from implant placement to restoration.



The anatomy of a dental implant that replaces a single tooth consists of three main parts: the implant post/fixture, abutment and the restoration. The implant post is made of titanium. The bottom looks almost like a screw or cylinder and is surgically imbedded into the jawbone. The implant post is not visible once it has been imbedded. Normally an implant is given a period of time to heal and allow the bone and implant post to fuse together. Time ranges from two to six months. The implant post is considered the equivalent of a natural tooth’s root. Sometimes the implant post is covered with a material that encourages bone growth around the post. During the period when you are healing from surgery you are given some sort of temporary replacement tooth or teeth to wear over the implant site.



The abutment part of a dental implant connects to the implant post and has a screw that is visible above the gum line when inserted into the implant post. Abutments differ both in shape and material depending on the type of restoration that is to be done. Normally an abutment is made of metal and has some sort of attachment for which the restoration affixes to. Oftentimes the abutment comes as a fixed part of the implant post. It is important to understand that if you require an abutment that is not fixed to the implant post you may have to allow several weeks for the area to heal once the abutment is inserted before receiving the restoration part of the implant procedure.



A restoration is the actual equivalent to the missing tooth. Normally the restoration is in the form of a crown. Crowns are either porcelain or all-metal. The location of the implant will determine what type of crown you need. The restoration is either screwed or cemented to the abutment part of the implant. If the restoration is screwed into the abutment a hole will remain in the top of the restoration. This is filled with a material such as a tooth-colored filling.



Dental implants can be used for one or multiple missing teeth. They give improved stability to dentures as well as maintain facial structure. Dental implants function and appear like natural teeth, which improves self-esteem and adds confidence.



If you are considering dental implants, or to see if you are a candidate for dental implants, please visit Midway Square Dental at www.midwaysquaredental.com or call our office at 1-866-866-8549 today!

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