The Different Parts of a Dental Implant and Their Functions

Anatomy of a dental implant

Let’s explore the anatomy and function of dental implants.

For permanently restoring your smile after tooth loss, it’s hard to beat dental implants as the premium prosthetic tooth option. The implant lasts for life, they look and feel just like natural teeth, and you can continue eating all of your favorite foods. What’s not to love?

Dental implants are becoming more popular every year, especially as advancements in materials and techniques raise success rates well over 95%. More people than ever are aware of implants and want them as an alternative to dental bridges and dentures. However, some people do still feel a bit confused about exactly how an implant works.

To help you understand why dental implants function so well, let’s take a look at their anatomy.

Dental implants have a three-piece design.

When your dentist talks about a dental implant, it can seem like the implant is one single piece. Actually, conventional implants are made of three different components.

1. Post

What makes a dental implant is the post. The implant post is a screw-like piece of titanium that is roughly the same size as a natural tooth root. Some posts even have a slight taper to their end, just like a tooth root. Posts vary in size and shape to match the tooth they’re replacing, but all serve the same purpose.

The job of the implant post is to provide a stable, permanent point to which a prosthetic tooth can be placed. The post is surgically implanted directly into your jaw, most often right where your missing tooth has been removed. In the following months post-surgery, your jawbone will fuse to the titanium post, a process called osseointegration.

2. Abutment

Conventional dental implants are actually hollow. This is because after healing is complete, your dentist will place an implant abutment to form a foundation for your future “tooth.” There are many different abutment designs, but they all function as a place in which a dental crown or future prosthesis can be easily attached.

Although less common than conventional dental implants, there are some implant posts that already have the abutment in place. Your dentist will explain which type of  implant you’re receiving before treatment takes place.

3. Prosthesis

The most exciting step of dental implant surgery is the appointment where you finally get a prosthesis, or more simply, your new prosthetic tooth. The prosthesis you receive depends on which type of restoration you’re receiving.

For a single implant, your dentist will create a foundation around your abutment and place a beautiful dental crown on top. For multiple missing teeth and multiple implants, your treatment plan may involve an implant-supported dental bridge or an implant-supported denture.

Dental implants function just like natural teeth.

Once you know the anatomy of a dental implant, it’s easier to understand why they function so similarly to natural teeth. While other dental restorations (like bridges or dentures) rely on neighboring teeth or gum tissue for support, implants rely on the jawbone. A healthy, dense jawbone offers the same stability to an implant as it would for a natural tooth.

The strength of an implant is such an advantage that implant-supported dental bridges and implant-supported dentures are also rapidly growing in demand. These two implant options allow dentists to reduce the number of dental implants needed to replace multiple missing teeth and even entire arches. Patients experience the benefits of implant technology without the downsides and limitations of conventional bridges or dentures.

A dental implant consultation will help you find out if you’re a candidate.

Even if you haven’t quite made up your mind about dental implants, seeing Dr. Staley for a dental implant consultation is highly recommended.

Dr. Staley will teach you more about dental implant technology and how it can benefit your unique smile needs. You’ll have a chance to ask questions and discuss your options in a no-pressure setting so you can make an educated decision.

During your consultation, Dr. Staley will also go over your medical history and perform an in-depth examination to evaluate your candidacy for dental implant surgery. In the rare case that  implant surgery may not be right for you, Dr. Staley will then go over the alternative options for restoring your beautiful smile.

You can schedule your dental implant consultation today by calling our Boise office or using this online form.