How do they attach tooth to implant?

Placing dental implants to replace missing teeth has become a common and effective treatment option. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically inserted into the jawbone to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place. The process involves multiple steps, including placement of the implant post, integration with the bone, attachment of an abutment, and finally cementing or screwing the new crown or bridge to the abutment. This provides a strong, stable foundation for fixed tooth replacements that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. Understanding how implants are secured in the mouth is helpful for those considering this restorative treatment.

The Implant Post

The implant itself is a small titanium screw that is surgically inserted into the jawbone, typically under local anesthetic. Titanium is used because it has the unique ability to fuse with human bone in a process called osseointegration. The screw-like shape with threads on the surface maximizes the surface area available for this integration. The number, size, position, and shape of implants will vary based on the unique anatomy of each patient. Custom 3D imaging is often used for precise planning. Placement requires a small incision to expose the bone surface and drilling a hole to allow screw insertion. The implant is positioned and tightened into place flush with the bone level. Following surgery, the site is closed and allowed about 3-6 months to fully heal. This allows time for complete osseointegration prior to loading the implant.

Components of the Implant

Implant body

The main part embedded in the jawbone is called the implant body or fixture. This provides the artificial root structure. It is usually 3.5-5 mm in diameter and 6-16 mm long depending on jaw anatomy. Implants come in different sizes and the site is measured and prepared prior to placement.


An abutment is connected to the implant body to support and hold the dental prosthesis. It serves as the transition piece between the implant below and the visible crown above. Custom abutments can be created, or common stock types are used. The abutment shape, height, and angle is selected to properly align with the final restoration.

Connecting the Abutment

After sufficient healing time, a minor surgery is done to expose the implant and attach an abutment. The doctor opens the site and places a healing collar or temporary abutment post. This allows the tissue to heal around it. Once ready, an impression is taken and the permanent abutment is selected and secured to the implant. This is tightened or cemented onto the implant post manually or with dental tools. The abutment material is often titanium, zirconia, gold, or other ceramic. It is shaped and sized to securely fit and hold the new prosthetic tooth.

Securing the Tooth Replacement

Once the abutment is securely attached to the implant, replacement teeth can be fabricated and fixed onto it. Common options include:


A dental crown is made to encase the visible part of the abutment and function as an artificial tooth. The crown is shaped and colored to look like the natural tooth it is replacing. A customized crown is created based on imprints of the abutment taken earlier. It may be screwed or cemented permanently onto the abutment post. Dental cement ensures it is completely fixed and stable.


A bridge may be used to replace multiple missing teeth in a row. This prosthetic is fixed to abutments on the implants positioned at either end. Pontics (false teeth) are fused between abutment crowns or bonded to the crowns to create an artificial set of teeth held firmly in place. More implants can be used for longer spans.

Dentures or Overdentures

Implants can also be used to anchor and stabilize removable dentures. Precision attachments are placed in the dentures which snap or clip onto abutments. This creates a secure hold for the denture so it stays firmly in place. 2-6 implants may be used depending on the case.

Retention Options

The prosthetic tooth/teeth may be attached to the abutments via:

  • Screws – A small screw goes through the crown into the abutment to fix it in place.
  • Cement – Dental cement adheres the crown permanently to the abutment.
  • Clips – Clips or precision attachments on the prosthesis snap onto the abutments.

The method depends on the specific case. Screws allow the crown to be unscrewed if needed. Cement provides a tight permanent hold but cannot easily be undone. Clips are popular for removable dentures or bridges.

The Tooth Implant Procedure Step-By-Step

From start to finish, here is an overview of the complete implant timeline:


The dentist will assess the patient’s specific needs, medical history, jaw anatomy, and aesthetic goals. Options for tooth replacement with implants will be discussed. Scans and impressions are taken.

Initial surgery

The implant site is prepared in the jawbone and the titanium post inserted. The tissue is stitched closed over it as it osseointegrates over 3-6 months.

Healing period

Time is given to allow full fusion of the bone around the implant body before restoring the tooth. Healing typically takes 3-6 months.

Abutment connection

A minor procedure exposes the implant again and attaches the abutment post(s) into the implant body/bodies.


Impressions of the abutment position are taken and used to design and fabricate the prosthetic tooth/teeth or dentures.

Tooth attachment

The replacement tooth crown, bridge segment, or denture is securely fixed onto the abutment(s).

Follow up

The dentist will schedule follow ups to check your implants, prosthesis, and oral health. Regular dental visits and care ensure long-lasting results.

Advantages of Tooth Implants

Implant-supported tooth replacements offer many benefits over other options like conventional dentures and bridges:

  • Look and feel natural
  • Do not slip or move
  • Preserve facial structure
  • Allow normal eating and chewing
  • No need to alter adjacent teeth
  • Long lasting with good care

They provide a firm, permanent solution that allows comfortable function. With realistic materials and proper placement, implant teeth are indistinguishable from natural teeth in both aesthetics and sensation during use.

Who is a Candidate for Tooth Implants?

Implants are suitable for most adults, but factors like jawbone condition and health impact candidacy. Ideal candidates have:

  • Sufficient jawbone density and volume
  • Healthy oral tissues
  • No uncontrolled periodontal disease
  • An ability to follow post-op care instructions
  • Realistic expectations about the process

A consultation helps determine if you meet the criteria. Additional procedures like bone grafts can sometimes help if jawbone is inadequate. Medical conditions like diabetes may require stabilization first.

Risks and Complications

While dental implants have become very common with high success rates, some risks do exist:

  • Infection at the implant site
  • Injury or nerve damage from surgical placement
  • Rejection of the implant
  • Peri-implantitis (inflammation around the implant)
  • Loosening of the implant

With proper surgical technique, diligent oral hygiene, regular dental visits, and avoidance of risk factors, complications occur infrequently. Report any concerns promptly to your dentist.

Cost of Tooth Implants

Dental implants and associated procedures can range in cost depending on several factors:

  • Single vs multiple tooth replacement
  • Extra procedures like bone grafts or sinus lifts if needed
  • Type of final restoration (crown, bridge, denture)
  • Material cost for prosthesis
  • Office location, dentist skill and experience

According to national averages, a single implant may cost $1500 – $4000. Multiple implant cases are $3000 – $30,000. Dental insurance often covers a portion of this. Discuss costs directly with your provider.

Maintenance of Dental Implants

Once restoration is complete, brushing and flossing around implant teeth and dentures is essential. Special tools like interdental brushes may help clean between teeth and under bridges. Regular dental cleanings and checkups monitor their condition. Proper hygiene and avoiding grinding or clenching limits risk of complications. Report any problems like loosening, discomfort, or changes promptly. With excellent long-term care, implants can last decades.

Alternatives to Tooth Implants

Depending on the circumstance, other tooth replacement options may be considered:

Removable full or partial dentures

Conventional dentures are removable and do not require surgery. However, they may feel loose or unstable when eating and speaking.

Fixed dental bridges

Bridges cement or bond replacement teeth to natural teeth on each side. This does require altering those adjoining teeth.

No replacement

If missing back teeth and healthy front teeth, a gap may be left empty. Implants are often preferable though.

Discuss the pros and cons of all solutions with your dentist. Often dental implants provide the best durability, function, and aesthetics.


The process for attaching artificial teeth to implants involves surgical placement of the implant post, integrating it with the jawbone, connecting an abutment, and finally cementing or screwing the crown, bridge, or denture onto the abutment. This provides a strong, durable method for replacing single or multiple teeth in a way that looks and feels natural. With appropriate technique, materials, and patient care, implants can provide an excellent tooth replacement solution for years to come. Regular dental visits sustain their longevity. Considering factors like bone health and cost, dental implants offer an effective option for many patients seeking permanent tooth replacement.

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