What Is A Dental Implant System?
A dental implant is in fact a system made up of several components, including:
- A Prosthesis: the artificial tooth (crown/bridge/denture) and the connecting element (abutment)
- An Implant: the artificial tooth root looking like a small metal screw
Patients who want a dental implant but suffer from severe bone resorption, often need a bone graft to increase the volume of bone supporting the implant.
The Crown (or Bridge/Denture)
The crown is the artificial tooth that will be crafted to match the other teeth in your mouth. A bridge or overdenture is a set of artificial teeth molded together. This is the part of the dental implant that you will be able to see once your procedure is complete.
The connecting element or abutment is the component that connects your crown to the implant.
The dental implant is the artificial tooth root that is surgically embedded into your jaw and looks like a small metal screw.
The Bone Graft
Bone grafts are used to increase the volume of the bone and gum in the area where the implant is planned to be placed.
How Does A Dental Implant Work?
The implant or ‘metal screw’ component is surgically embedded into the jawbone and fuses with your natural jaw, through a process called ‘osseointegration’. This makes the dental implant stable and strong enough to support a prosthetic tooth so that your replaced tooth can withstand the forces of biting and chewing comfortably.
Once the implant has fused with the bone, an abutment is screwed into the dental implant. The abutment then connects the implant to the crown or bridge.
Sometimes it is possible to place the abutment at the same time as your dental implant. At other times, your dentist will recommend a second procedure. You may have a temporary crown fitted, while you wait for your surgical site to heal. Once healed, your dentist will place your permanent crown to complete your dental implant procedure.
What Is a Dental Prosthesis?
There are a number of different options available to you, depending on whether you are missing one tooth, a few teeth, or all of your teeth. Sometimes a dental practitioner will recommend a combination of tooth replacement options, such as dental implants supporting a bridge. The dental implant prosthesis can look very different but most commonly consists of a crown/bridge/denture and one or more abutments.
What Is Bone Grafting?
Some patients need bone grafting before their jaw is strong enough for a dental implant. This is common when a tooth has been missing for a long time. Bone grafting is when an artificial bone is used when there is not enough natural bone to provide a solid foundation for the dental implant.