Dental implants are replacements for a missing tooth or teeth. Almost all dental implants are made out of titanium. Titanium is light, strong, and compatible with the surrounding gum and bone. There are three basic parts:
1. THE IMPLANT
The implant is the replacement for the root of the tooth. It looks like a small screw or peg and may or may not have threads. There are many different diameters and lengths to match up with your needs. The implant is placed in the bone of the jaw in much the same position as the missing tooth or teeth. The bone of the jaw fuses (integrates) to the surface of the implant over time.
2. THE CONNECTOR (ABUTMENT)
The connector fits on top of the implant and “connects” the implant to the crown, bridge, partial or full denture. The abutment is usually placed after the implant has integrated with the jaw bone. There are many different types of connectors, depending on the patient’s needs.
THE CROWN OR BRIDGE
If a single crown is the needed tooth replacement, then the crown is cemented to the connector in the same manner that a crown is cemented to a natural tooth. Remember, the implant is nothing more than a replacement for a tooth. Whatever can be done to a tooth, can also be done with an implant!