What is a dental implant abutment?

An illustration of a dental implant with a titanium abutment.

A dental implant abutment is an integral component of dental implants. During dental implantation, the dental implant abutment connects a titanium cylinder anchored in the patient’s jaw to an artificial crown. During the healing time required during dental restoration, a temporary abutment ensures that no foreign material enters the artificial cavity. As there are four types of human teeth, there is a different type of abutment for each. To ensure a pleasing aesthetic quality, some dental implant abutments are made from materials that match the color of human teeth.

There is a different abutment for each of the four types of human teeth.

A dental implant is needed when a patient loses a tooth due to cavities or physical trauma. After administering anesthesia, the dentist pierces the gum and reaches the underlying bone. The dentist then slides a titanium cylinder into the cavity. As the cylinder is hollow, a temporary dental implant abutment is screwed onto the top of the cylinder. The temporary abutment prevents infections and other complications by keeping the cylinder closed throughout the healing process.

Dental implants provide an effective replacement for people who have lost a tooth due to gum disease.

A patient needs three to six months of healing time before the titanium cylinder is grafted into the natural bone. During the second procedure, the dentist removes the temporary abutment and screws in a permanent dental implant abutment. This abutment is also typically made of titanium. To ensure the new abutment stays in place, dentists often apply an adhesive to the abutment before screwing it into the cavity. The final step is to place a permanent crown over the abutment, holding it in place with the same adhesive as described above.

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Dental implants require the same regular brushing and flossing as natural teeth to prevent discoloration and infection around the abutment.

As the human mouth has four types of teeth, a different dental implant abutment is needed for each. The size, shape and angle of the teeth make differentiation necessary. Fortunately for patients, the implant procedure and high implant success rate remain the same, no matter which teeth are involved.

Although dental implant abutments are usually made of titanium, there are abutments made of different materials when the patient is concerned about the aesthetics of their mouth. This concern is more important for patients who need dental implants in their front teeth. Zirconia is the standard substitute for titanium. Although not a metal, zirconia is an extremely hard substance that has the advantage of having the same color as natural teeth. Replacing zirconia with titanium does not increase the chances that a dental implant will have complications or wear out over time.

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