What Is a Dental Abutment?

by | May 25, 2021 | Implants, Oral Surgery

Did your endodontist suggest that the existing complication in your tooth is beyond treatment and extraction is the only solution? Well, then it’s quite a pickle. A missing tooth will always make you self-conscious when smiling. Also, chewing and eating will be a challenge.

The silver lining is you are not alone in this. Not to mention, there are ways to replace the hollow space. Statistical figures say about 120 million U.S citizens have lost at least one tooth. In this case, the best alternative recommended by dentists is dental implants. According to AAID, more than 3 million patients have already benefited from implant surgery, and the number is increasing. Common folks are aware of the frequent terminologies like crowns and bridges. But it’s essentially a three-step process, including a part called the dental abutment.

We are here to provide you with a comprehensive knowledge of this segment, implant-abutment types, composition, and a fair idea about the treatment method.

 

Understanding abutments

We should begin with the big picture here to understand the features and purpose of an abutment. American Dental Association describes implants as screw-like anchor pieces placed into your jawbone to play the role of an artificial tooth-root for any dental prosthesis.

When you focus on the smaller picture, there is another metal section in the middle. An abutment is a connecting link between the implant and the crown on top. The crown is the final capping in this entire procedure, which looks like a natural tooth.

The periodontist attaches a metal post to the implant after the healing period of the initial surgery is over. This extension creates a solid foundation to hold the crown firmly and makes the general structure of the implant aesthetically pleasing.

Some of the most common manufacturing elements are titanium, gold, or even stainless steel. Zirconia is the popular choice in recent years because this white ceramic component camouflages easily inside your mouth.

 

Different types of dental abutments

There are multiple types of abutments depending on their material, shape, and size. Selection of the right one is a big responsibility for your dental practitioner to guarantee optimum functionality and a flawless outlook.

1. Implant abutments

A cuff is placed on the implant during the first surgery that assists in healing the gum tissues and shapes the gum line properly for the final crown positioning.

2. One-piece implant

The implant and abutment are combined to create a single unit that can be placed very quickly in one sitting.

3. Two-piece and three-piece implant

A distinct abutment component is attached to the implant fixture by a screw or cement or cold welding in these kinds. The patient has to go through a longer installation process (3-6 months) and complicated surgeries.

4. Bridge abutments

Dental bridges consist of a pontic or a fake tooth held in position by two anchoring teeth on both sides, which sit on two abutments.

5. Partial denture abutments

Partial dentures are more like bridges but for three or more missing teeth. While dentures are usually removable, dentists will surgically insert the fixed partial dentures into the jawbone set on abutments.

 

Custom vs. stock abutments

What is a custom abutment?

As the name suggests, these are custom-made in dental laboratories for every individual. The corresponding professional creates an impression of the implant and its surroundings to match the patient’s natural tooth color, shape, and emergence profile.

Pros

  • Available in a good range of quality materials
  • Endurance and durability are remarkable. Custom abutments last a lifetime.
  • Promotes healthy tissue growth
  • Crown depth can be customized.
  • The dentist can correct angulation.
  • Offers an enhanced support system
  • A better choice when it comes to hygiene and aesthetics

Cons

The major disadvantage of a custom implant abutment is the steep price range.

What is a stock abutment?

Stock implant abutments are pre-customized and manufactured by many companies. They follow a standard size chart and tooth structure and composition while designing. As a consequence, it’s hard to expect a perfect shape and natural aesthetics from these abutments.

Pros

  • Making an impression is easier
  • Shaped as straight or angled
  • Comparatively cheaper than custom abutments
  • It comes ready-made and reduces the overall implant installation time.
  • They are versatile and suitable for bone-level or tissue-level implants.

Cons

  • Cleaning is a hassle
  • Limited control over the final margin placement of the crown, which gives a bit crooked look
  • Not appropriate for the esthetic zone, the portion that shows up when a person smiles.

 

How are abutments placed?

The whole dental implant process takes three consecutive stages.

  • First, the gum tissues are opened to drill the implant into the jaw bone. After the placement, it goes through a 3-6 months-long healing process (osseointegration) when the bone structure fuses with the implant, and it gets covered under the gum.
  • The dentist again surgically exposes the implant with a scalpel or laser treatment to attach the abutment in the next step.
  • Finally, once the base is prepared, a crown fitting to the size, color, and shape of the other teeth is secured on the top.

There is another way to bypass the second surgery – the use of healing abutment. A healing cuff is screwed over the upper surface of the implant. This wider part ensures that the gum tissues do not submerge the implant altogether. It stays there all along until fully integrated. Lastly, your periodontist will take off the cuff and install a proper dental prosthesis.

 

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article provided valuable insight into different types of abutments, their features, and their performance. That being said, we always suggest getting any minor issues checked with your dentist before it is too late. Why wait till implant when you can solve it with a simple root canal?

If you are dealing with any dental health trouble, Laguna Vista Dental is your one-stop solution. We offer patient-focused superior quality oral surgery and dental implant services with utter care and attention. Give us a call today to request an appointment, and we will reach you shortly with a confirmation note.

Krystle Fenton

Krystle Fenton

Krystle Fenton is the owner and lead dentist at Laguna Vista Dental in Elk Grove, CA. Dr. She has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Andrews University. She then went on to Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, where she graduated with honors and is a member of the prestigious Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) National Dental Honor Society. Dr. Fenton is a member of the American Dental Association, California Dental Association, and Sacramento District Dental Society. In her time away from the office, Dr. Fenton enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, spending time outdoors and watching movies.

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