The Implant Fixture
The fixture is the term to describe the implant itself.
The fixture is a small titanium device that closely resembles a screw. This device is placed directly into the bone beneath the gumline.
The dentist will first move the gums away and then drill a precise hole in the bone before placing the fixture directly inside the hole. This component will essentially serve as the new “roots” for the prosthetic tooth. The implant fixture is given time to heal and achieve osseointegration, in which the bone fuses to the fixture, creating a solid and permanent base.
Once the fixture has healed and osseointegrated, it will then be time to attach the prosthetic tooth to complete the smile line.
Because the fixture lies directly inside the bone below the gumline, a connective piece between the prosthetic tooth and the fixture is needed as an extender piece, of sorts. This is where the abutment comes in.
The abutment is a short screw that attaches directly to the middle of the implant fixture and provides a connector between the two components. The abutment may be tooth colored, or it may be fabricated simply out of metal.
The final component of a dental implant is known as the prosthesis. This is the “tooth”; it attaches directly on to the abutment and looks and functions just like a real, natural tooth.
The shade of the “tooth” will be pre-selected to perfectly match the shade of your natural teeth. To the naked eye, it is nearly impossible for most people to discern the difference between an implant tooth and a natural tooth.
Once the prosthesis has been attached, the implant placement is officially complete. The patient can then use their new dental prosthetic to eat, chew, and talk just as they would with a natural tooth. The implant is permanent, and does not have to be removed at any time.
For more information about implants in San Jose or to get scheduled in our office to determine if implants are a good option for you, give Willow Glen Dental Specialists a call at (408) 478-9081.