Following are definitions for words related to dental implant dentistry and tooth restoration.
Abutment – A connector placed on, or built into, the top of a dental implant, and on which your replacement tooth, fixed bridge, or overdenture will be placed.
Arch – You have two arches: your complete set of top teeth (the maxillary dental arch) and your complete set of bottom teeth (mandibular dental arch). A dental arch comprises bone and soft tissue shaped like an arc to support the teeth.
Bridge – Multiple replacement teeth that are fixed in place via attachment to dental implants, natural adjacent teeth, or a combination or the two. They "bridge the gap" created by missing teeth and are brushed and cared for at home in place, in your mouth, like natural teeth. There are many types of bridges so if one is being recommended for you, be sure to ask your dental professional how the bridge will be secured.
Crown – The part of your implant-restored tooth that appears like a healthy, white tooth. Tooth-shaped crowns also are used to "cap" existing teeth to restore their strength and natural appearance.
Dental Implant – A cylindrical and/or tapered post usually made of titanium that serves as a substitute for the tooth root and provides a strong and sturdy foundation for one or more replacement teeth.
Dentures – Dentures are various appliances used to replace missing teeth. Some are designed to be removed daily at home for cleaning and others can only be removed by an implant dentist. For most wearers, dentures that are not supported by dental implants are not as secure or satisfying in appearance. If a denture is recommended, be sure to ask what type, how it will be attached, and how it should be cleaned and maintained.
Osseointegration – Fusing to, or integrating with, bone. Dental implants placed in the bone as substitutes for tooth roots form a secure and stable foundation for replacement teeth when your natural bone grows against the implant through a process called osseointegration. The process takes several months to occur but you may go about your everyday life while it takes place.
Periodontal – Literally “around the tooth” (e.g., periodontal disease is gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss).
Resorb – Dissolve, Deteriorate. Non-implant supported bridges and dentures allow the jawbone underneath the replacement teeth to resorb, or deteriorate. Dental-implanted supported bridges and dentures stimulate and preserve your natural jawbone.
Restoration – The process of partially or fully reconstructing a body part, or the artificial device used in place of the natural body part. With respect to implant dentistry, restoration refers to the process of replacing a missing tooth or teeth, or the actual devices (e.g., replacement tooth or teeth, also called a crown, bridge, denture, etc.) used to do so.