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.
What They Are
• Implant: The implant itself is a rod that is screwed into the jawbone.
• Abutment: This is the connection between the implant and the crown.
• Crown: A tooth shaped cap that is attached to the abutment. It is the 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 biocompatible metal.
• Zirconia: Often used for crowns and bridges and can be used as a metal-free option. Zirconia is biocompatible just like titanium.
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.
• Subperiosteal Implants: Placed under the gum, but on or above the jawbone. These implants are mostly for people with smaller jaws or shallow jawbones.
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/zirconium 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 usually 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. Procedures can include bone-grafting which means adding bone to the jaw.
Talk to us today at Santa Barbara Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery to discuss your options with an implant specialist!
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