Implants are indicated whenever at least one tooth is missing. If the missing space(s) is not filled, the teeth surrounding the space often drift, the opposing teeth in the other arch will erupt further into the oral cavity (hypereruption) which can change your bite, bone erosion can occur in the area, and even changes in speech might occur. The popularity of implants has increased steadily over the years.
Implants are designed to replace the root of a missing tooth and can be used to support crowns, bridges, or dentures. The root-form implant is the most common type and basically consists of three main components:
- Implant screw – This part of the implant is made of titanium and is surgically placed in the bone. Titanium is accepted by the body extremely well and fuses with the bone (called osseointegration) during the healing process.
- Abutment – This is a metal collar that attaches to the top of the implant screw and is the base for a crown, bridge, or denture.
- Crown - The crown is the manufactured tooth that fits on top of the abutment. Bridges and dentures can also be secured to the abutment. The placement of the crown, bridge, or denture is the final step of the implant process.