Abutment Definition

An abutment is a connecting element which is used in the dental field. Abutments are used in various contexts which are summarized below:

A fixed bridge: the abutment teeth describes the teeth which support the bridge
Partial removable dentures: the abutment teeth are used to support the partial denture
Implant: an abutment is used to attach a crown, a bridge, or attach the removable denture to the dental implant fixture. The implant fixture is similar to a screw which is osseointegrated

A dental bridge abutment is created in a way that the way the teeth are inserted, they are essentially parallel with one another.

Because partial denture abutments can incorporate elements including rest seats, guide planes, and recontouring, they are particularly unique.

Implant Abutments

Implant abutments are often called prosthetic implant abutments. They act as the connectors between the prosthesis and the implant. This type of abutment can be created from many different types of materials, such as titanium, surgical stainless steel and even gold.

A ceramic abutment is often used as it can enhance a ceramic crown to provide a more natural-looking appearance. While they can be more aesthetically pleasing, ceramic abutments must be used with care. They are not nearly as strong compared to abutments created from titanium, gold or other noble metals. Most dental professionals are more comfortable with using a metal prosthetic abutment in the posterior molar areas, due to the increased forces which are present in these locations.

Abutments are not always considered parallel to the long axis of the implant. The abutment is used when the implant is at a different inclination as it relates to the prosthesis. In most cases, the crown or fixed partial denture is secured with the use of cement or a screw to attach the abutment.

Three Piece Implant

In cases where a three piece implant is used, the abutment is attached to the implant using a screw butt joint. This screw must be tightened to a set level of torque using a dental torque wrench. This helps to avoid the screw becoming loose during routine use such as chewing. The act of chewing can result in a counter-clockwise torque on the implant-abutment interface, which can cause the abutment screw to become loose. With the correct screw design and torque of the abutment, this can typically be avoided.

Two Piece Implant

For patients with a two piece implant, the abutment is morse tapered or cold welded to the implant. The microbial leakage and colonization which can occur between the implant and the abutments can cause inflammatory reactions and crestal bone loss. As it relates to seal performance, the formation of microgaps, the maintenance of torque, and abutment stability, morse taper conical abutments showed a cumulative implant survival rate of 98.23%.

One Piece Implant

A one piece implant (OPI) works by incorporating the trans-mucosal abutment as an integral portion of the implant itself. One piece implants are commonly used with a flapless procedure and immediate loading where the crown is placed immediately following the placement of the implant.

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