An implant retained prosthesis is far and away the most comfortable, reliable and cost effective means to replace missing teeth. Although not foolproof, once implants heal with the jawbone, 97% of the time they’ll last at least 20 years. You will have the look and feel of natural teeth with no chance of decay. Before development of implant retained crowns, bridgework or dentures were the only alternative for replacing missing teeth.
The illustration below shows a comparison of a natural tooth juxtaposed with an implant retained crown.
There are 3 parts to an implant retained crown:
- Dental Implant: made of a Titanium alloy, is about the size of a natural tooth root. It is placed into the jaw bone and allowed to heal a few months. During this healing, the implant fuses with the jaw bone (osseointegration). The jaw bone and implant become one.
- Abutment: after healing, an abutment is screwed onto the implant which has a small threaded shaft in the center. It provides a mounting base for the crown.
- Dental Crown: the crown is custom fabricated to match your natural teeth. It is cemented onto the abutment.
Implants can be used in other ways. The most common is under partials or dentures to increase stability and comfort.