Learning the Lingo – Dental Implants

Dental implants are a safe and effective replacement for a missing tooth or teeth. The implant is placed in your jawbone and integrates with your natural bone. This implant then forms a stable, sturdy base for your new teeth.

Cartoon Image Dental ImplantsWhat They Are

  • Implant: The implant itself is a titanium screw that is placed into the jawbone.
  • Abutment: This is the connection between the implant screw and the crown (the crown attaches to the abutment).
  • Crown: A tooth shaped cap that is attached to the abutment. It is the white part of the tooth that is visible above the gum line.

What They’re Made Of

  • Titanium: Most implants are typically made of titanium, a 100% biocompatible metal.
  • Zirconia: Zirconia or zirconium oxide is a white metal and is only different from cubic zirconia due to the molecular lattice arrangement. Zirconia is often used for crowns, bridges, and/or abutments as a metal-free option. Although zirconia is biocompatible just like titanium, its use as a dental implant screw is not yet proven in the dental implant literature and therefore not commonly used.

Where They Go

  • Endosteal Implants: Placed in the jawbone. These implants are typically shaped like small screws, cylinders or plates, and they are the most commonly used.
  • Zygomatic Implants: Long implants placed into the Zygoma or cheek bone. These implants are used when very little or no upper jawbone is present. Zygomatic implants offer a great solution for patients that are not able or willing to go through extensive bone grafting procedures.

What Happens To Them

  • Osseointegration: Creates strength and durability by fusing directly to the bone and is bio-compatible. Bone cells attach themselves directly to the titanium surface, essentially locking the implant into the jaw bone. Osseointegrated implants can then be used to support prosthetic tooth replacements of various designs and functionality. Anything from a single tooth, to all teeth in the upper and lower jaws. The teeth/crowns are made to match the enamel color of the existing teeth to create a natural appearance.
  • Bone augmentation: Some people do not have enough healthy bone to support dental implants, so bone must be built or grown. Procedures can include bone-grafting which means adding bone to the jaw.

Talk to us today at Center For Dental Excellence to discuss your options with an implant specialist!