If you have missing teeth, you might be researching your options to restore your smile. Well, dental implants are an excellent solution to consider! They help patients eat, speak, and grin with complete confidence once again. However, the first step on your journey towards getting dental implants in Orange Park is a consultation with your dentist. While explaining the process, they may throw around some confusing words. To help you understand exactly what’s going on, here’s a brief guide on dental implant terms you should know.
A dental implant, or a fixture, is a medical device that is surgically inserted into the jawbone to support a dental prosthesis, such as a bridge, crown, or denture. Once the post fuses with the bone, it mimics the missing tooth root and creates a lasting foundation to support an artificial tooth. Most implants last a lifetime, making them one of the most long-lasting solutions for missing teeth!
An abutment is a connector that your dentist builds onto (or attaches) to the top of your dental implant. It serves as an anchor for the final restoration (crown, bridge, or denture), holding it firmly in place.
Dentures are a traditional solution for missing teeth, but most patients don’t have the same durable and stable results with dentures as they do with implants. Some dentures are removable for cleaning and storage, while others are permanently attached to the mouth (i.e., implant-retained dentures).
A crown, or a cap, is fitted over a weakened or damaged tooth, protecting it from further harm. If you’ve ever broken or lost a tooth because of infection, decay, or injury, then you’re likely familiar with this type of restoration. It can also be attached to the abutment of a dental implant.
This biological process is what fuses the implant to the jawbone, improving the strength between the bone and the load-bearing implant. It occurs when the bone cells attach themselves directly to the titanium surface, locking the implant directly into the jawbone. The term comes from Greek and Latin words meaning “bone” and “to make whole”.
Titanium is the most common material used for dental implants because of its durability and functionality. Also, very few patients are allergic to this metal! One advantage of titanium is its ability to fuse with the bone and grow into the implant as it heals (aka osseointegration). Patients can expect their titanium implants to last several years or even a lifetime!
If you’re one of the few people allergic to titanium, zirconia is another option for implant material. It’s also an ideal choice for patients with a history of recessed gums because the material isn’t as noticeable. Since zirconia implants do not have prosthetic connections, the risk of bacteria growth is much lower. Some people even experience better gum health with this alternative!
Now that you know a few dental implant key terms, it won’t sound like your dentist is speaking in a foreign language during your consultation! That way, you can fully understand the process for a beautiful, restored smile.
About the Author
Dr. Natasha Patel completed her education at the SDM College of Dental Sciences in Karnataka, India. She strives to make her patients feel comfortable, satisfied, and relaxed during every dental visit. Dr. Patel and her team at Kind Care Dentistry use the latest technologies and materials to give you a smile you can confidently show off. If you’re ready to start your dental implant journey, visit our website or call (904) 278-9011 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Patel.