If you’re considering a dental implant, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of its parts and how they work together.
Photo #1: The photo to the left shows the entire implant assembled, including the implant, post and crown.
Photo #2: The photo on the right shows the individual pieces and parts that make an implant work.
In Photo #2, starting from bottom to top, the blue portion is the implant. It is made of a titanium alloy and is the same material that orthopedic surgeons have used for decades to replace knees, hips, and shoulders. It is very biologically friendly and there has never been a case of allergy associated with titanium. This is the part of the implant that is placed in the bone or – as we often describe it – “below ground.”
The silver piece is known as the post, or the abutment. This is the piece that transitions through the gum tissue. About half of the post is below ground in the implant and above ground to hook to the crown. This post can be made of different types of materials depending on the application. The most common are titanium alloy, gold alloy, and ceramic.
The last piece is the crown. This component is above ground and functions in exactly the same way as a crown on a natural tooth.
Dental Implants vs. Bridge
Photos #3, #4, #5: In the three photos that follow, you will get an idea of the difference between a dental implant and a bridge.
In the first photograph, you’ll notice that on both sides of the model, the third tooth from the back is missing. On the left side of the model, you can see that an implant has been placed and the post is visible. The right side of the model is prepared for a bridge.
On the bridge side of the model, you will see that the teeth in front and behind the missing tooth have had structure removed to prepare them for a bridge. In the center photo, you can see how a bridge uses the two adjacent teeth to hold the replacement tooth. These adjacent teeth are reduced down to accommodate the bridge. The third photo shows the dental implant and the single crown that will be attached to it.
This is just one of the advantages of using implants in place of bridges – an implant will fill the empty space without disturbing the neighboring teeth. Basically an implant is a one-tooth solution to a one-tooth problem while a bridge is a three-tooth solution to a one-tooth problem.
Also, the implant will never get a cavity and will never need a root canal. It is made of metal and ceramic, so decay will never be a problem again. Bridges, however, can still get cavities on the supporting teeth.