When it comes to dental implants, most people are familiar with the implant itself and the crown or bridge. But there’s one part of the ensemble that doesn’t often get discussed: the abutment.
The dental implant abutment is a small object usually made of titanium or zirconia that acts as the connection between the dental implant and the crown or another dental restoration. Not only does it serve as a connection, it also helps shape the gums in a healthy and esthetically pleasing way around the dental restoration. The materials used for the abutment can affect strength and aesthetics, so careful consideration is taken when choosing the right abutment for the job.
Often a dentist might choose to use a healing abutment right after implant surgery in order to cover the hollow center of a dental implant and promote healthy gum development. This abutment won’t attach to a dental implant but would still serve a crucial role in proper healing.
A dentist may opt for a custom-made abutment to specifically match the anatomy of a patient. This is especially important in areas that are very visible in the mouth during smiling, ensuring the crown looks like it’s emerging seamlessly from the gums.
Another consideration a dentist will have is to decide whether to cement the crown directly to the abutment or screw it on. There are pros and cons to each method such as screw holes in the crown potentially weakening the structure of the crown or the potential of excess cement causing inflammation of the gums.
Abutments come in all shapes and sizes, but you can count on your dentist to have the training to choose the right one for your given situation.