A dental abutment is simply a connecting element between a dental implant, a fixed bridge, or a partial or removable denture.  They can be made from a variety of materials, such as ceramic, titanium, surgical stainless steel and gold.  More modern abutments are now also made from zirconia, which is a white ceramic made from the metal zirconium.

Implant abutments are usually called prosthetic implant abutments.  There are three types:

  • Three-piece implant: The abutment is fixed on the implant with a screw, which must be tightened to a predetermined torque with a dental torque wrench in order to avoid the screw loosening during chewing.
  • Two-piece implant: The abutment is “morse” tapered or cold welded on the implant.
  • One-piece implant: The abutment is an integral part of the implant.  This type is often used with a non-surgical procedure and the temporary crown is placed at the same time, called same day implants.  The risk is if the implant and crown receive too much pressure or force too soon, the attachment of implant to bone could fail.  Patients will usually be placed on a soft food diet for several weeks to a few months while their implants heal.

There are two ways to place a conventional two-piece implant (i.e., implant and abutment):

Two-phase submucosal technique:

  • The implant is inserted into the bone and sealed with a cover screw
  • The gum is stitched closed over the implant and left to heal
  • In 3 to 6 months the implant is uncovered in a minor surgical procedure
  • The cover screw is removed and replaced with a healing abutment
  • In 1 to 4 months the final step to secure the crown to the abutment is done.

One-phase transmucosal technique:

  • The implant is inserted into the bone and sealed with a transmucosal healing abutment

Three to six months later the crown is placed

If you are interested in abutments in Costa Rica, fill out the “Find a Dentist” form on this page.  One of our patient advocates will reply to your needs.