Dr. Melissa Elliott is a dentist in Fallston, MD that offers dental implants for the replacement of missing or damaged teeth. Implants are an effective, long term solution for people who need teeth replaced. They are by far the best solution and the closest thing a person will get to a natural tooth.
What Are Dental Implants?
The phrase dental implants is commonly used to describe the entire system that replaces one or more teeth. When, in fact, a dental implant is only one part of the actual replacement tooth or teeth. Implant supported restorations are made up of three parts: an implant (sometimes multiple), an abutment, and a dental restoration. To help you understand what dental implants are and how they work, we have broken down the three main components:
The implant fixture is the part of the dental implant that is surgically placed into the jaw bone. This screw-like post is made of titanium, a very strong yet light type of metal. Titanium is a type of metal that is not harmful to the human body. The bone cells in the jaw will attach to the metal implant creating a strong bond during a process called osseointegration. The implant will act as a tooth root providing stimulation for the bone thus preventing bone loss. It will also firmly hold a dental restoration in place.
There a few different types of implants that can be used:
- Standard dental implants: typically used in the front part of the mouth. They are skinnier measuring about 3.4 mm to 4.2 mm in diameter.
- Wide platform dental implants: primarily used in the back part of the mouth. They are wider ranging in size from 4.5 mm to about 6 mm in diameter.
A titanium abutment or container is a small connector piece that is connected to the implant post. After the implant has completely fused with the jaw bone, another minor surgery will uncover the implant and the abutment is screwed or cemented to it. Sometimes a healing abutment (also called a healing cap) is immediately placed after the surgical placement of the implant to help the gum tissue heal around the implant site. A second surgery is not necessary if a healing abutment is used. The permanent abutment will be placed right before the attachment of the restoration. A permanent abutment will sit right at the gum line and support a dental restoration.
The final piece is the dental restoration which will resemble, feel, and function just like a natural tooth or teeth. Dr. Elliott will attach the dental prosthesis once your gums have healed and the implants have fully integrated with the jaw bone. The type you will need depends on the number and location of the missing teeth. Dr. Elliott will restore multiple missing teeth with a dental bridge or partial denture. A single missing tooth will be restored with a dental crown. If you are missing one or both arches of teeth, she will restore them with a custom made denture.