What is a Dental Implant Abutment?

First we need to start with the dental implant and understand what that is.

A dental implant is one of several ways to give you teeth you don’t have. It’s basically a false tooth root, placed in your jaw bone to hold a permanent tooth or bridge.

The abutment

Attached to that implant is a metal piece to connect it to the outer crown. That in-between piece is called the dental implant abutment, also known as a prosthetic abutment.

Abutments are made with different materials:

  • Gold
  • Ceramic
  • Titanium
  • High noble metal

Which one is best is a matter of opinion. They each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Titanium responds really well to the gum tissue, as an implant attachment. However, gold seems to be best for porcelain crowns, lending itself to a more natural tooth shade. Ceramic abutments are sought after mainly because they don’t fracture easily, they have a pleasing appearance and allow light to get through the crown. And this gives the crown a more natural coloring.

Replacing one tooth

You can have an implant for one tooth replacement, instead of a regular bridge. The number one advantage with implants vs. a bridge is that the implant helps preserve the bone by integrating with your jawbone, keeping the bone from resorbing. Another advantage is that an implant is just like your own natural tooth, and can last a lifetime, with good care and diligent checkups.

Whereas a regular bridge can lead to gum recession around it, bone resorbtion and the cement that holds the bridge in place can sometimes deteriorate and wash out. This can lead to bacteria and decay in the teeth one either side that anchors the bridge. Another option is to have implants anchor your bridge, rather than having crowns done on either side as anchors.

How about replacing several teeth?

Not a problem. Your lost natural teeth will be replaced, as well as some of the roots. And the advantages over regular dentures are numerous, including all the advantages mentioned above. The implants will be as your natural teeth—no worry about looseness, speech problems, and watching carefully what you eat.

Back to the abutment

So even though you never see the abutment part of your implant, it plays a major role. And your dental professional will treat it with the respect it deserves.

If an abutment isn’t created properly, it CAN cause certain functional issues, aesthetic issues, and even failures in the crown because of poor support for the porcelain.

Your dental professional will know where to obtain good quality abutments, and how to install them.

After the implant is installed directly into the jawbone and allowing a few months to let the implant screw bond with the bone, the abutment is attached to the implant. Then the gums have a few weeks to heal. Last, the crown is placed on top, and Tada! You have a nice new smile.