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Dental Implant Surgery — Understanding the Lingo

Dental implant surgery isn’t confusing — to an oral surgeon, that is. To patients, however, some of the terminology may be unfamiliar.

Dental Implant Surgery Understanding the Lingo

To make learning about tooth replacement easier, the professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah put together the following guide to dental implant surgery lingo. Of course, if you have questions or need further explanation, just ask — we’re always here to answer your questions and help you understand how dental implants work.


The abutment is the connector piece that attaches the artificial tooth, bridge or denture to the dental implant post placed in the jawbone.

Bone Augmentation

Also referred to as bone grafting, bone augmentation is a procedure that rebuilds the jawbone to provide a strong and stable foundation for dental implants. Augmentation is only necessary for patients with significant bone loss in the jaw.


The crown is the artificial tooth part of the dental implant. Crowns are usually made of ceramic or porcelain compounds, and oral surgeons take great care to make them look natural as if they grew in place.

Dental Implant

When oral surgeons refer to dental implants, they’re technically talking about the titanium posts that serve as a replacement tooth root. Two types of implant posts are used for patients with missing teeth:

  • Endosteal Implant: The vast majority of implant patients get endosteal implants, which are placed in the jawbone.
  • Subperiosteal Implant: For implant patients with shallow jawbones, subperiosteal implants, or those placed on or above the jawbone, may be considered.

Implant-Supported Bridge

An implant-supported bridge is made up of two or more crowns attached in a row, supported and fixed in place with dental implants. Unlike standard bridges, placement of these tooth restorations doesn’t require harming the nearby healthy teeth.

Implant-Supported Dentures

Like standard dentures, implant-supported dentures or overdentures can replace a partial or full dental arch. With this type of tooth restoration, however, the replacement teeth are firmly anchored in the jawbone with dental implants. As only four titanium posts are usually needed for support, implant-supported dentures are also referred to as all-on-four implants.


Osseointegration is the process through which dental implants fuse to the jawbone. The jawbone naturally grows around the titanium posts, creating a firm connection that permanently stabilizes the replacement teeth.


Teeth-in-a-day is a faster process of placing dental implants. With this procedure, the titanium posts and crowns are placed in a single office visit, allowing patients to walk out with brand-new smiles. For patients who need bone augmentation, teeth-in-a-day implant surgery is not recommended.

Would you like more information on dental implants? For expert advice from a tooth restoration specialist in the Salt Lake City area, visit Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.

Our board-certified oral surgeons, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, can answer all your questions about tooth replacement and recommend the best treatment approach to restore your missing teeth. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office and schedule a dental implant surgery consultation today.

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