Exploring the Components: A Guide to the Parts of a Dental Implant

parts of a dental implant

Dental implants are intelligently designed surgical objects that have completely transformed the dynamics of restorative dentistry, providing patients with a durable and functional way of replacing missing teeth. However, it’s really the fundamental parts of a dental implant that make them capable of executing a long-lasting teeth replacement. These components work in tandem to provide strong support to dental restorations (crowns/bridges/dentures), without which any restoration would be ineffective.

While it’s very important for patients to educate themselves on the working and placement process of dental implants, knowing about the components of implants would give them a much more holistic understanding of the process.

This blog will help you understand the different parts of a dental implant, outlining their role in restoring people’s smiles.

What’s The Purpose Of Dental Implants?

To understand dental implants and why they’re so widely used in teeth replacement procedures, it’s important to brush up our understanding of human tooth anatomy first. The human tooth is composed of three parts: 

  • The crown (the visible part of the tooth above the gum line)
  • The neck (the part embedded in the gumline)
  • The root (the part below the gumline that extends far up into the jawbone).

Typically, when you lose a tooth, the entire structure of the tooth (including the root) is lost, leaving an empty space in the mouth and jaw. This causes an absence of stimulation in the jawbone at the site of the lost tooth (which was earlier provided by the root), which may lead to jawbone resorption in the surrounding area, and may also lead to teeth shifting. It’s essential to replace the tooth as quickly as possible to escape these complications.

Dental implants provide the best replacement for natural tooth roots. They are surgically inserted into the jawbone at the site of missing teeth, where they provide support to dental restorations/fake teeth (similar to how natural tooth roots support natural teeth). They are composed of biocompatible metals (so that they don’t trigger any harmful reaction in the body) and typically have a cylindrical or screw-like shape (similar to the shape of natural tooth roots). 

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Dental implants are permanent, and this is one of the reasons behind their increasing popularity over conventional teeth replacement procedures. Several studies have been conducted to assess the success rate of dental implants according to different measures. One such retrospective study explored the factors affecting the survival rate of dental implants and recorded the success rate over a period of 10 years. According to the results, the implants have a 90-95% success rate.

This is a relatively high success rate compared to other (traditional) teeth replacement procedures in which implants aren’t used. For example, a non-implant-supported crown (one that’s supported by a natural tooth) has a success rate of only 80.9% after 10 years, whereas an implant-supported crown boasts a success rate of 96%.

The Parts Of A Dental Implant

The parts of a dental implant provide the necessary machinery that makes the implant a stable, functional, and viable source of teeth replacement and include the following components:

The Fixture 

The fixture is the base/foundation of the dental implant – the portion that goes into the jawbone. It acts as a substitute for natural tooth roots and anchors the other parts of the implant in place. It is composed of a biocompatible material, usually a metal (such as Titanium or zirconia) so that it blends well into the surrounding jawbone and gum tissue without triggering any harmful reaction through dental implant failure. It’s either cylindrical in shape (with a smooth surface) or is designed like a screw (with screw-like threadings on the surface) to facilitate its insertion in the jaw.

The Abutment

The abutment is basically an extension of the fixture and protrudes above the gumline. It’s that part of the implant that acts as a connector piece between the fixture and the final dental restoration (crown/bridge/implant denture), helping them unite into a single whole. The abutment is usually also made up of metals, but it may also be composed of other materials such as ceramic or a combination of these materials.

The Screw

The abutment is fixed to the fixture by means of a screw, known as an implant screw. It plays an integral role in the long-term durability of the implant, as it’s what keeps the abutment secured to the fixture, ultimately allowing for the attachment of the prosthesis. This screw is not a regular screw that’s used in machines but is carefully designed to withstand the constant chewing and biting forces inside the mouth. It’s also usually made of Titanium or another durable metal.

The Restoration/Prosthesis/Artificial Teeth

The restoration, also referred to as a prosthesis, is the artificial tooth/teeth that are used to replace your missing teeth. It’s the visible component of the implant and is connected to the abutment protruding above the gumline, which gives it strong support. There are 3 types of dental restorations, each corresponding to different parts of a dental implant:

  • Crown: It’s an artificial tooth used to replace a single missing tooth.
  • Bridge: It’s an artificial set of teeth used to replace a section of missing teeth. It is usually used to replace 3 or 4 missing teeth, but it can also be used to replace 5 or 6 teeth in some cases.
  • Denture: This is an artificial set of teeth used to replace an entire arch of teeth in completely edentulous (lacking teeth) patients. You can replace an entire upper arch (16 teeth) with a denture or use two separate dentures to replace both the upper and lower arch (32 teeth). 

The restorations are usually composed of either zirconium, porcelain, or any such visually appealing material, and they are custom-made to ensure a perfect resemblance with natural teeth in terms of color, shape, and size. Your dental implants cost would also vary based on the type and material of the restoration.

Conclusion 

Dental implants have become a popular treatment option for patients looking to get a reliable, durable, and aesthetic replacement for their teeth. The parts of a dental implant including a fixture, an abutment, a screw, and a final prosthesis – all of which play an integral part in restoring patient’s smiles to perfection.

If you need more details on the working of dental implants or need to determine your suitability for this procedure, book a FREE consultation with Richmond Implant Clinic, located in Richmond, Virginia. We have a team of implant experts who’ll give you professional advice, helping you achieve a beautiful and healthy dental transformation.

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