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Understanding Dental Implant Abutments

by Andre Daniels

If you have a surgical procedure scheduled to replace a missing tooth, then your oral surgeon will place a dental implant in your mouth. While most people think of implants as a singular device, they are actually made out of three separate pieces. These pieces include the implant root, the abutment, and the artificial crown. You may understand the function of the implant and the tooth, but you may not know much about the abutment. To learn more about it and how to keep it in good condition after a dental implant is secured, keep reading.

What Is A Dental Implant Abutment?

The dental implant abutment is the small device that sits in between the implant root and the tooth crown. The abutment is a small metal protrusion that screws into the end of the implant root. This small cap serves an important function while you go through the initial healing period. It helps to keep the hole on the end of the implant root from filling with food and bacteria. This keeps the surgical area clean and free from infection.

Once the initial two to six month healing period is over and your jawbone is strong enough to accept the new tooth, the abutment will be used to connect your dental crown. The crown may be attached in two different ways. The crown may be cemented directly over the top of the abutment. This helps to create a very secure fit, and this may be required for teeth, like the molars, that are placed under a great deal of stress. 

The crown may also be attached with the assistance of a screw. In this case, a small screw will fit through the middle of the crown and the abutment. Screw attached crowns may loosen over time. However, the screw can easily be removed if the crown tooth or abutment needs to be repaired or replaced.

How Do You Take Care Of The Abutment?

Abutments are only visible during the initial healing period. This means that this is the only time that you really need to take care of the device. Abutments are typically made of titanium, much like the dental implant root. This means that the device is extremely strong. The device will also be secured in place with a dental torque wrench so it remains tightly in place. 

These things mean that you do not need to pay much attention to the abutment. However, you should clean around the edges of the device to keep food and bacteria from building around it. This will help to reduce infection risks. Use your normal toothbrush and paste, or opt for a special type of dental device called an interproximal or interdental brush. These small brushes can be worked around the abutment to clean it with more precision. Water flossing tools can also be used for cleaning purposes. For more information. talk to a dentist, like one at Keenan Green Family Dentistry.