Dental implants are mechanical devices that have been designed to substitute for individual missing teeth. They function as an artificial tooth root, on top of which some type of dental prosthesis (a dental crown, bridge or denture) can then be placed.
The most common kind of implant placed by dentists is the endosseous root-form type.
The fixture is that part of the implant that’s embedded in and becomes fused with the jawbone. It’s the portion that lies below the gum line and, for all practical purposes, can be considered to be an artificial tooth root.
The abutment portion of a tooth implant is that part that lies at and above the gum line. It’s the part that supports and secures the dental work (crown, bridge, denture) that’s placed on it.
The term “dental prosthesis” refers to the dental work (crown, bridge, denture) that the implant supports, which is cemented or screwed (i.e. crowns, bridgework), or else clipped or snapped (i.e. dentures), into place.
Factors that must be evaluated include: