Nearly 3 million Americans alone have dental implants, and another 500,000 join the crowd every year. And if you are thinking of getting dental implants for yourself, note that knowing the terminology concerning dental implants can be quite helpful when deciding about getting dental implants and what kind are right for you.

As a result, this is a brief article not about the pros and cons of getting any particular type of implant, but about the terminology itself so that you and your San Marcos TX dentists can communicate on the same level.

An Abutment

An abutment is a connector, usually metal, that your dental professional will place into the site of your dental implant during dental surgery. An abutment will screw into the implant and securely holds the implant in place.

Abutment teeth

A bridge or partial denture needs a healthy structure to attach to. An Abutment tooth serves as that structure, and depending on the procedure, may be attached to the abutment tooth via a bridge or a dental clasp.


Ceramic is the material that most dental implants are made of. Although some people have implants made out of titanium, ceramic has the advantage of being able to imitate natural teeth.


A crown refers to an attachment over a single tooth. Crowns usually are ground to fit over an existing tooth structure, that may be weakened or damaged.


A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth as well as surrounding tissue.

Dentures come in two forms, complete dentures, when natural teeth are missing, or partial, where there still exist some natural teeth.

Endosteal Implant

The most common type of implant, small screws, plates, blades, or cylinders are placed directly into the jawbone to hold an implant.

Eposteal Implant

Rarely used unless there is some kind of risk of bone resorption, here the implant rests on the jaw rather than is drilled in with plates, blades or cylinders.


Also called a fixture, the implant is the ceramic or titanium device implanted into your jaw to fuse with the bone and hold the implant in place.


You may hear your dentist use the term Osseointegration. This is fundamentally just a fancy term for the process of placing your implant into your jawbone to fuse your implant and abutement together.

Typically when you get an implant, within 3 to 6 months, the implant is fully infused into the jawbone.

Subperiosteal Implant

Patients who have weak jawbones, or who lack the minimum jawbone height (a shallow jawbone that can’t support an endosteal dental implant) will generally hear their dentist talk about a Subperiosteal Implant.

A Subperiosteal Implant involves a metal structure that rests on the jawbone rather than placed in it and then has small probes that go into the surrounding gingival tissue to hold it in place.

Although rarely used due used with modern improvements in imaging, bone grafting, and dental implant design, nevertheless, a Subperiosteal Implant is another tool available for your dentist.


Titanium is a very strong metal that is ideal for dental implants. Up until around 2009, titanium is, and still remains pretty much the implant material of choice.

Titanium is extremely strong, and therefore there is much less risk of fracture.


Your dentist may offer you the choice of Zirconia implants. Zirconia is an extremely hard metal that, unlike titanium, resemble your natural teeth in color.

Zirconia implants have one main drawback, being that they can be twice as expensive as titanium. However, for both their longevity and their natural color, most patients prefer Zirconia implants.

Key Takeaway

We hope that after reading through some of these definitions that you will feel more prepared for making a decision on if dental implants are right for you! If you are looking for a dental office in San Marcos, give Larry Molenda D.D.S a call or visit our webiste! We have the best team in San Marcos TX dentists, we are here to help.