Dental implants are dental fixtures that are designed to replace missing teeth.
They function as an artificial tooth root, on top of which some type of dental prosthesis is set (a crown, bridge or denture).
“Intraosseous root-like” dental implants
This is the most common type of a dental implant used by dentists.
The term “intraosseous” refers to the fact that the implant is embedded in the bone (jaw bone).
The term “root-like” refers to the fact that the shape of the implant is somewhat similar to that of the natural tooth root. (Although it is not very precise in the sense that some teeth have multiple roots).
“Osseointegrated” dental implants
The term “osseointegrated” refers to the fact that there is a direct bond (merging) between the surface of the implant and the living bone tissue.
Almost all intraosseous root-like implants are of an osseointegrated type.
Dental implants have three main parts
- An implant-root proper, which interfaces with the jawbone.
This is the part that lies below the gum line, and for all practical purposes may be regarded as an artificial root.
Osseointegrated implant fixtures are made of titanium. This can be either “technically pure” titanium (over 99.5%) or an alloy (titanium combined with aluminum and vanadium, so as to improve the strength and tear resistance).
They may be cylindrical or have a helical design.
There is a variety of types of special treatment of the implant surface.
This increases the total area of the implant outer surface, thereby increasing the amount of bone contact with the implant.
How is a dental crown fixed to the implant?
- An abutment.
An abutment is a part of the dental implant which lies at or above the gum line. This is the part that supports and protects the prosthetic part (a crown, bridge or denture), which is fixed to it.
The abutment is typically fixed only on completion of the osseointegration process.
- Prosthesis (a bridge, crown or denture)
Depending on its design it can be cemented or screwed.