September 13, 2017
Sometimes, there’s just no such thing as “layman’s terms.” You know—plain English! Take a conversation about dental implants, for example. Your dentist may interject words that aren’t even in the dictionary. With this in mind, here’s list of the most common terms associated with dental implants. Now you’ll be in the know and you’ll probably feel less apprehensive about the procedure, too.
As long as you’re getting dental implants you may as well know exactly what they are. An implant is actually a small medical device that is surgically positioned in your jawbone. Once secure, the implant supports a dental prosthesis such as a porcelain crown, a denture or a bridge that replaces missing teeth. The most commonly used type is an endosteal (in the bone) implant. Less often, dentists use subperiosteal (on the bone), which are comprised of a metal framework with posts that protrude through the gums.
An abutment is the small attachment that connects the implant to the dental prosthesis. Your dentist will either build it into the implant or secure it on top. With this, a crown, bridge or denture is held firmly in place.
Say that three times fast! Let’s break that word down. Osseointegration combines the Greek and Latin words that mean bone—osseo—and integration—to make whole. This is a process that occurs while you heal after surgery to place your dental implants. The implanted post and the surrounding bone tissue fuse together.
Titanium is a type of metal that is used to construct most dental implants. The advantages of titanium are numerous. First, not many people are allergic to titanium. Secondly, it’s strong but also lightweight so the weight on your jawbone is less once the implant is placed. Finally, titanium integrates well with bone tissue.
Zirconia is another type of material used to manufacture implants. It is white in color and reduces the risk of bacteria growth around the prosthetic.
Ceramic is yet another type of material used for dental implants. Made of clay that is ivory or white in color, ceramic implants can be more aesthetically appealing than their metal counterparts. Ceramic implants may also be used if you have a known allergy to metal.
Hopefully, these terms will help you understand a conversation about dental implants. For any additional questions, contact your dentist.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. Michael Olson is the dentist at West End Dental Group in Beaumont, TX. In addition to dental implants for tooth replacement, Dr. Olson also specializes in partial and full dentures as well as crown and bridge therapy.
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