Dental implants are prosthetic dental appliances that are surgically implanted into the jawbone to replace lost teeth. A dental implant is comprised of a metal screw, an abutment and a dental crown. The implant effectively replaces each component of the lost tooth. For instance, the screw replaces the root of the tooth and actually fuses with the jawbone through a healing process called osseointegration. Once the screw is securely stabilized in the bone, an abutment is added so that a dental crown can be attached. The dental crown is typically matched to the color of the patient's teeth and affixed to the abutment to restore chewing capabilities.
If multiple teeth need to be replaced, a dentist may suggest a dental bridge and dental implants to attach the bridge. Here are a few questions and answers about dental implants used for dental bridges:
How do dental bridges attach to dental implants?
The bridge crown is attached to the dental implant using an abutment in the same manner that it would be attached in the replacement of a single tooth. The abutment has the same shape as a natural tooth that has been debrided for the placement of a crown.
Conventional dental bridges include a false tooth or teeth with a dental crown on each side of it. The false tooth or teeth fit into the space left by the missing tooth or teeth. Each bridge crown fits over a natural tooth or dental implant that borders the gap from the lost tooth or teeth.
If the space from a lost tooth is adjacent to a dental implant and no other teeth border the space, can the single implant be used for the crown?
A single dental implant may be used for cantilever bridges, which are stabilized by a single crown instead of two.
What can cause a dental implant that is used as a bridge support to fail?
A dental implant used for bridge support can fail due to infection or failure of the implant to heal properly at the implantation site. If osseointegration does not occur or is compromised by trauma, the implant screw may become unstable in the jawbone.
An implant can also fail if the patient's immune system rejects the implant as a foreign body. In addition, a dental implant that serves as a bridge support can fail if undue pressure is placed on the implant and causes it to loosen.
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