The dental implant has become one of the most effective restorative procedures for people who have lost one or more teeth. The convenience, durability and recent innovations in implant design have made the process popular. Nevertheless, since implants need certain bone mass to integrate properly in the mouth, placing the dental implant is sometimes a problem for restoration dentists. Usually, two-piece or angled abutments are used to enable the prosthodontist or restorative dentist to make up for unconventional implant placement. The stock abutments typically pose a challenge due to the shapes and sizes available.
With the introduction of custom-made abutments designed by computers, dentists can now give their patients better accuracy and precision during the implant process. Custom dental implant abutments can make up for offset or angled implant placement while preserving anatomical shape.
The process uses advanced 3D optical scanning, computer software and accurate manufacturing tactics to produce customized patient-specific abutments that require little or no alterations. The abutment is exclusive to the patient and built to adopt the shape of the natural tooth being replaced. Custom abutments are manufactured to be compatible with the crown of a natural tooth while conforming to the present gum and soft tissue contours. The abutment can then be created from zirconia, titanium or titanium anodized to gold color.
The difference between custom and stock abutments
Stock abutments are pre-made, which reduces the cost and time required for getting dental implants. They are produced in standard sizes that ensure easy deployment for patients that require bone-level and tissue-level implants. Stock implants can be angled or straight and are usually held by cement.
Although stock implants are multiuse, they are not advisable for teeth in aesthetic areas (front teeth). The tissue may not conform to the abutment’s shape, which will make it harder to adjust it to the contours and tissues of other teeth. Stock implants are more effective for back teeth, but it will be harder to accurately determine the final margin position of the crown since it is determined by the elevation of the abutment and depth of the implant. This lack of accuracy exposes patients to higher risk of implant failure from peri-implantitis, a condition that causes soft tissue inflammation and bone loss after implant osseointegration.
These abutments provide more accuracy since they are custom made to fit the tissue crest. Custom abutments can be manufactured from gold or zirconia to create a better match for the teeth. They are suitable for aesthetic purposes, which means if you are missing a front tooth, the dentist will likely suggest custom abutments. They are identical to the patient’s dentition, even with gum recession.
To make the custom abutment, the dentist will take an impression of your mouth and forward the information to a dental lab. This will be used to create an abutment that matches the contour, shape and eruption profile of your mouth.
The bottom line
Although custom abutments cost more, they usually have better aesthetic appeal and tissue management. Talk to your dentist about whether or not custom dental implant abutments are necessary for your procedure.
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