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To help you better understand what to expect when you need a dental implant procedure, here is a guide to help you decode the language your dentist uses to describe your upcoming procedure:

Abutment: The abutment is a connector the dentist will attach to the top of your dental implant to serve as a replacement tooth, crown or bridge, and keep the implant firmly in place.

Abutment Teeth: These are the teeth that support the bridge or partial denture.

Ceramic: This is the material that is used to make the implants, and is made of clay that hardens by heat before it is used in your mouth. Ceramic is sometimes preferred because it gives a more natural look than titanium.

Crown: The crown is also called a cap and replaces one tooth. The crown is used to replace broken or lost teeth due to infection, decay or injury. Crowns typically fit over the existing tooth or attach to the abutment of the dental implant.

Dentures: Dentures are traditionally used to replace missing teeth, and may be removed daily for cleaning. Some are attached permanently to the mouth, such as implant-supported dentures.

Endosteal Implant: This is the most common type of implant used by dentists according to the American Academy of Periodontology.  To fit this type of implant the dentist will place small screws, plates, blades or cylinders in the jawbone during a surgical procedure to hold at least one prosthetic tooth.

Implant:  It is a medical device that interfaces with the jawbone and supports a dental prosthesis, such as a bridge, crown, or denture. The implant will fuse directly to the bone and provides a long lasting result for the patient.

Osseointegration: This biologic process fuses the implant to the existing bone, and helps improve the strength of the tooth and load-bearing implant.

Superiosteal Implant: If a patient cannot use a denture the dentist may choose to use this implant which sits on top of the jaw with the posts of the metal frame protruding through the gum to hold the prosthetic tooth in place.

Titanium: Most implants are made with titanium since few people are allergic to the metal.  The metal is also lightweight but very strong and durable, and has the advantage of reducing the weight on your bone or mouth. Titanium will form a thin oxide layer in your body, and will ossify to the bone making a stronger and long lasting product.

Zirconia: This is an alternative metal that is used for the small percentage of patients that are allergic to titanium. It is a white color and looks more like a natural tooth.

Source: “Defining Dental Implant Key Terms,” September 1, 2017, 123dental.com

Dr. Melchers and his staff are here to help address any of your dental health needs and to decide the best course of treatment for their patients. Contact us at info@mtpleasantdentistry.com to see how we can best meet your dental care needs.