When it comes to dental implants, there is a lot of talk about the implant restoration (custom crown) and the implant itself (the titanium screw that acts as a tooth root replacement). However, there is another component of a dental implant sandwiched in the middle of the implant and restoration. The abutment is a critical part of your dental implant’s success. An abutment is either placed on or built into the top of the dental implant to connect the implant to the replacement tooth (crown restoration or denture).
Unless you are seeing a dentist who conducts same-day dental implants, the abutment will not be placed until the implant site has healed and the titanium screw has fused to the jawbone, a process that can take 2 to 3 months. The implant is covered with gum tissue during this healing phase and surgically uncovered when it is time to place the abutment and the final tooth restoration. Most crowns and fixed partial dentures have a cemented or screw-retained fixation on the abutment. Abutments can be made of a variety of materials, including titanium, surgical stainless steel, gold, zirconia (or white ceramic). Abutments also vary in their design, depending if they are being used on a three-piece, two-piece or one-piece implant type. Most dental implants use a three-piece design. Your abutment choice will depend on your unique tooth restoration plan and the preferences of your implants dentist. When a dental implant is placed correctly and at the proper angle, a custom abutment is typically not necessary. Instead a pre-fabricated abutment can be used, which also reduces cost.
Dental implants are an intricate system, but they undoubtedly provide the most long-term function and natural appearance than any other tooth replacement available. Dr. Wayne Suway understands the technicality, artistry and science it takes to ensure your dental implants are successful.