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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 563-570

Screw-retained crown restorations of single implants: A step-by-step clinical guide

1 Department of Periodontology and Preventive Dentistry, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem; Private Practice Limited to Periodontology and Dental Implants, Alpha Clinic, Ramallah, Palestine
2 Private Practice Limited to Periodontology and Dental Implants, Alpha Clinic, Ramallah, Palestine

Date of Web Publication29-Oct-2014

Correspondence Address:
Mohammad Assaf
Department of Periodontology and Preventive Dentistry, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem; Private Practice Limited to Periodontology and Dental Implants, Alpha Clinic, Ramallah
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1305-7456.143645

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This paper shows the clinical steps for preparing a screw-retained crown for the restoration of a single implant. Impression-taking using open-tray technique and delivery of the crown is presented in a step-by-step manner elucidated by detailed photographs. Furthermore, the advantages and disadvantages of screw-retained crowns are discussed in comparison with the cemented restorations.

Keywords: Open tray impression, retrievability, screw-retained crown, single dental implant

How to cite this article:
Assaf M, Abu Gharbyeh AZ. Screw-retained crown restorations of single implants: A step-by-step clinical guide . Eur J Dent 2014;8:563-70

How to cite this URL:
Assaf M, Abu Gharbyeh AZ. Screw-retained crown restorations of single implants: A step-by-step clinical guide . Eur J Dent [serial online] 2014 [cited 2019 Jun 20];8:563-70. Available from: http://www.eurjdent.com/text.asp?2014/8/4/563/143645

  Introduction Top

The use of implant-supported single crowns has become a well-established and preferred approach to compensate missing single teeth. [1] There are two different types of prosthetic restorations fixed on dental implants: Screw-retained and cemented restorations. The choice of method is usually based on the clinician's preference. [2] Retrievability is the main advantage of screw-retained crowns that would make it more favorable to many clinicians. [3] It allows better control on the hygiene of the implants and surrounding mucosa, also, crowns can be easily repaired in case of crown fracture. [4] On the other hand, cases when the access hole is on the incisal edges or cusps teeth or easier access to the posterior area of the mouth is needed, cemented crown restorations could be more practical. [4],[5]

  Clinical Steps for Screw Retained Crown Restoration of a Single Implant Top

The two main procedures needed for getting a crown restoration are taking an accurate impression and delivering the screw retained single crown. The prosthetic procedures are usually conducted after proper healing time is allowed following the surgical insertion of the implant. If surgical insertion followed a two-stage protocol, then a healing time of at least 2 weeks should be allowed after surgical exposure [Figure 1]. In one-stage as well as two-stage surgical protocols, the surgeon is responsible of placing the healing cap (or gingival former) on the fixture before referring the patient for prosthetic construction [Figure 2]. Various shapes and sizes of healing caps are available for different implant systems [Figure 3]. Radiographic evaluation of the implant may be prescribed to evaluate the quality of bone surrounding the implant; an intra-oral peri-apical X-ray can be used to check for any unwanted signs of a failure of the implant [Figure 4].
Figure 1: Implant exposure and placement of the healing cap

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Figure 2: Implant with the healing cap after healing of peri-implant mucosa

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Figure 3: Healing caps (Ginival formers): Various sizes

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Figure 4: Radiograph showing an implant with favorable bone pattern and no signs of failure or peri-implant radiolucency

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Taking the impression

There are variable techniques for taking an impression at the implant level. In this paper, the impression is obtained using the open tray (direct) method which gives high accuracy. [6] Errors more often occur with the closed tray (indirect) method during removal and replacement of the coping, especially in the occluso-gingival direction. [7] However, a limited mouth opening of the patient may be the cause why a clinician is enforced to use a closed tray technique.

The following steps are presented to illustrate, step-by-step, the technique of open tray direct impression.

  • Healing the abutment removal: The peri-implant mucosa is allowed to heal for at least 10 days after surgical exposure [Figure 2]. The healing abutment is unscrewed by anti-clock-wise rotation using a manual screw-driver [Figure 5]. The implant prosthetic platform should be examined to be free of bone and soft tissue [Figure 6]
  • A fixture mount/pick-up coping compatible with the dental implant should be used [Figure 7]a. A fixture mount suitable for the open-tray impression technique is placed on the implant body and tightened by manual clock-wise rotation of its inner screw [Figure 7]b. When the mount is below the level of the mucosa, an intra-oral radiograph should be done to ensure that the mount is properly seated on the implant [8]
  • A plastic stock tray or a custom made acrylic tray should be customized by cutting out a window over the area of the implant to allow clearance for the fixture mount [Figure 8]a. The impression tray should be assessed in the oral cavity to verify that the fixture mount and its screw protrudes through the tray [Figure 8]b
  • Impression material application: A light-bodied addition silicone impression material is syringed around the fixture mount. Meanwhile, the impression tray is loaded with heavy-bodied addition silicone impression material and seated directly in the mouth and exactly in its place. The excess impression material should be wiped off the screw of the fixture mount before it sets [Figure 9]. Opening of the screw may be filled with wax or cotton to prevent impression material from being trapped into screw opening
  • After the impression material sets, the mount is separated from the implant by un-screwing the long screw inside the mount [Figure 10]a-c. Then the impression tray is removed from the mouth with the fixture mount remaining secured in the impression [Figure 10]d. The impression material is verified to be completely adapted around the implant and mount. Then the healing abutment is placed back onto the implant to prevent soft tissue collapse till next visit when the restoration is to be delivered. An interim crown may be fabricated to promote biologically and esthetically appropriate soft tissue emergence for implants in the esthetic zone; the technique for preparing a single screw-retained interim crown is described elsewhere [9]
  • Implant analog [Figure 11]a: The analog is mated with the fixture mount/transfer by holding the analog in place while inserting the long screws through the access holes in the impression tray and tightened by the hand screwing [Figure 11]b. The analog should be safely and precisely attached to the impression fixture mount. Caution to avoid the over-rotation of the mount is needed during screwing since any slight movement may cause distortion of the impression
  • Impression with the fixture mount connected to the analog, bite registration, opposing impression, and shade of the restoration is sent to the dental laboratory.
Figure 5: Manual screw-driver: Various lengths

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Figure 6: Healed peri-implant mucosa: A view after removal of the healing abutment

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Figure 7: (a) Fixture mount for open tray technique: Various sizes (short, slim, and regular) (b) Fixture mount adapted to implant

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Figure 8: (a) Preparation of stock tray for direct impression (b) Trial of an impression tray intra-orally

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Figure 9: Impression taken with addition silicone: removal of excess material around the screw before setting

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Figure 10: (a) Unscrewing the mount after the impression material sets (b) Removal of the inner screw from fixture mount (c) Mount secured inside impression ready to be removed from the oral cavity (d) Fixture mount secured inside impression removed from the oral cavity

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Figure 11: (a) Implant analog: Represents the implant when gypsum model is poured (b) Analog attached to fixture mount

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Delivering the screw-retained crown

The main types of crown materials are either ceramic fused to metal or metal-free prosthesis like full zirconium crowns [Figure 12]. The restoration is sent back from the laboratory as one piece for delivery; an intermediate try-in step is unnecessary especially when an accurate impression is taken. The following steps are presenting the clinical steps of the screw-retained crown delivery after receiving a full-ceramic zirconium crown from the dental laboratory [Figure 13]:
Figure 12: Full zirconium screw-retained crown

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Figure 13: Zirconium screw-retained crown on gypsum model as received from the dental laboratory

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  • Healing the abutment removal: The healing abutment is unscrewed with the manual screw-driver and peri-implant mucosa should be assessed for the absence of inflammation [Figure 14]
  • The crown is soaked in chlorhexidine mouthwash for sanitization for 2 min then it is placed onto the implant and tightened with the manual screw-driver [Figure 15]a-c
  • After the adjustment of the contour and occlusion of the crown as necessary [Figure 16], a resilient material like a small cotton plug is placed into the screw access channel [Figure 17]. Other materials such as teflon or dental wax could be used for the same purpose; this allows easy access to the abutment screw in the future. The remainder of the channel is filled with a temporary filling [Figure 18]a and b. Screwing the restoration may cause pressure on the peri-implant mucosa; this may result in a short-term ischemia of the soft tissues [Figure 19]
  • A periapical radiograph along the long axis of the implant is necessary to ensure that the abutment is seated completely on the implant [10] [Figure 20]
  • After the confirmation of crown fit on X-ray, the patient is allowed to use the new restoration for few weeks. Then the previous temporary filling is removed, and the abutment screw is re-tightened to the recommended torque value (e.g.: 25 Ncm) using a calibrated torque wrench [Figure 21]a attached to a compatible screw-diver [Figure 21]b. It should be known that the mechanical torque level should follow manufacturer's instructions and is usually lower for full ceramic crowns compared to metal-based crowns [Figure 22]a-c
  • A small cotton pellet or teflon plug [Figure 23]a is placed again into the screw access channel [Figure 23]b; the opening is filled with a composite resin restoration [Figure 24]a and b
  • A record peri-apical X-ray, after delivery of the final prosthesis is necessary at this point; this radiograph will be useful for follow-up and maintenance comparisons of bone level with later radiographs [Figure 25]a-c. The next follow-up visit should not exceed 4 months after delivery of the crown. The patient also should receive appropriate oral hygiene instructions prior to being discharged till next recall visit.
Figure 14: Peri-implant mucosa assessed for the absence of inflammation: Occlusal view

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Figure 15: (a) Screw-retained single crown placed on the implant before screw attachment (b) Manual screwing of crown to the implant (c) Single screw-retained crown attached to implant: Occlusal view

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Figure 16: Single screw-retained crown attached to implant: Proper size of the crown with no interruption of occlusion

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Figure 17: Cotton plug is placed into the screw access channel

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Figure 18: (a) Temporary filling material to fill the screw access channel (b) Access channel filled with temporary filling material

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Figure 19: Pressure on the peri-implant tissues resulting in blanching of the buccal mucosa

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Figure 20: Radiograph showing proper seating of the crown on implant

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Figure 21: (a) Adjustable mechanical torque wrench (b) Mechanical screw-driver: Various lengths

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Figure 22: (a) Screw is tightened with manual screw driver first, then mechanical screwing using a torque wrench is applied (b) Mechanical screw-driver adapted to the screw of the restoration (c) Rotatory force applied till wanted torque is reached (25 Ncm)

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Figure 23: (a) Teflon plug is placed into the screw access channel (b) Access channel with teflon plug covering the screw

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Figure 24: (a) Composite resin filling material to fill the screw access channel (b) Access channel filled with composite resin filling material

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Figure 25: (a) Final restoration of left central incisor: Crown with final restorative resin material in access channel (b) Final restoration of left central incisor: Screw-retained full ceramic crown (c) Final restoration of left central incisor: Radiograph showing properly seated final restoration

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  Discussion Top

The choice of a screw-retained versus a cemented crown is a decision that involves several points of consideration. The clinician should have good awareness regarding the advantages and disadvantages of using a screw-retained versus a cemented crown. [11],[12],[13] Here are some factors the clinician should put in consideration when choosing which type to use:


The main advantage of screw-retained crowns is retrievability. It is always nice to have the option to easily remove an implant crown or re-tighten the screw whenever it is needed without any damage to the restoration. In the case of crown loosening, crown fracture, screw replacement, implant assessment, and cleaning of the surrounding tissue, the crown can easily be removed. While the screw-retained crown is certainly retrievable, removing a cemented crown can be problematic particularly if full ceramic crowns are used. [4],[13]


excess cement left behind cemented restoration is a major problem and can result in soft tissue damage, bone loss, and/or chronic inflammation. [11] The literature shows that the soft tissue surrounding screw-retained crowns are healthier than the peri-implant mucosa surrounding cemented restorations. [12] However, by removing cement thoroughly, the risk of leaving cement subgingivally that could cause peri-implantitis is reduced significantly.


Abutment height, degree of taper and surface area are all factors that affect the retention of cemented crowns. Abutment height is an important factor for proper retention. Longer abutment walls have more surface area, consequently are more retentive. At least 5 mm of abutment height is needed for proper retention of cemented crowns. [14] Therefore; screw-retained crowns are necessary in situations when limited inter-arch space dictates an abutment that would be shorter than 5 mm. [15]


In screw-retained restorations, the access hole will exit through the central fossa of the prosthetic crown. The screw hole in prosthesis may compromise esthetic, occlusion, and porcelain strength; [16] especially if the diameter of the screw was wide. [4] The cemented crown obviously has no entrance cavity. All-ceramic screw-retained crowns reduce the challenge of masking underlying discoloration from showing through the occlusal access opening once it is sealed by resin cement.

Implant inclination

particularly, when screw-retained crown is planned to be the prosthetic choice, surgeon should bring to the attention the inclination of the implant fixture accordingly while planning the surgical procedure. This typically does not cause a problem with posterior implants, since the posterior implants are more axially positioned with regard to the alveolus and tooth. However, it may be an issue with anterior teeth where the implant needs to be inclined lingually to allow screw emergence through the cingulum area of the restoration.


placing a screw-retained restoration in a patient with a limited opening and/or in the posterior area of the mouth can be challenging if there was not sufficient space for the screw-driver to be inserted. [8],[17]

Screw loosening

screw-retained restorations are associated with screw loosening complication especially in single crown restoration. The frequency of screw loosening is reported to be between 5% and 65%. [16],[18],[19] Using a mechanical torque instrument to tighten the screw to a recommended torque level (20-30 Ncm) has greatly diminished this prosthetic complication. [20],[21] In a study simulating clinical settings, 60 dental students applied their maximum controlled torque to the head of a screw-driven, the mean torque value obtained by hand was 11.5 Ncm. [22] Thus, the overestimation of the hand-driven forces should be avoided. In Addition, Siamos et al. [21] suggested that re-tightening abutment screws 10 min after initial torque applications should be performed routinely to increase stability and decrease screw loosening.

In a recent long-term systematic review, Jung et al. [18] studied the survival rate and the incidence of biological, technical, and esthetic complications of single crowns on implants. They reported that survival of implant-supported single crowns was 96.3% after 5 years and 89.4% after 10 years. Technical complications reached a cumulative incidence of 8.8% for screw-loosening, 4.1% for loss of retention, and 3.5% for fracture of the veneering material after 5 years. No statistical differences were detected when comparing survival rates of screw-retained and cemented single crowns; there was no statistically significant difference between all-ceramic and metal-ceramic single crowns.

Pjetursson et al. [19] conducted a systematic review and reported that the survival rate of metal-ceramic implant supported fixed dental prosthesis was 96.4% after 5 years and 93.9% after 10 years. The most frequent complications over the 5-year observation period were fractures of the veneering material (13.5%), loss of access hole restoration (5.4%), abutment or screw loosening (5.3%), and loss of retention of the cemented prosthesis (4.7%).

  Conclusion Top

When it comes to the restoration of implants, we typically have two treatment options: Screw-retained or cement-retained crowns. Although both treatment options can be used predictably, they have their own advantages and disadvantages; known retention, retrievability, re-tightening possibility, and the risk of not leaving residual cement are the main advantages of screw-retained crowns. Implant angulation may be a limitation to the usage of screw-retained restorations in some oral sites. While improved esthetic outcome and better occlusion are the main advantages of cemented crowns, their main disadvantages are less retention and difficulty of removal.

  References Top

Pjetursson BE, Lang NP. Prosthetic treatment planning on the basis of scientific evidence. J Oral Rehabil 2008;35 Suppl 1:72-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
Taylor TD, Agar JR, Vogiatzi T. Implant prosthodontics: Current perspective and future directions. Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 2000;15:66-75.  Back to cited text no. 2
Lewis MB, Klineberg I. Prosthodontic considerations designed to optimize outcomes for single-tooth implants. A review of the literature. Aust Dent J 2011;56:181-92.  Back to cited text no. 3
Chee W, Jivraj S. Screw versus cemented implant supported restorations. Br Dent J 2006;201:501-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
Chee W, Felton DA, Johnson PF, Sullivan DY. Cemented versus screw-retained implant prostheses: Which is better? Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 1998;13:352-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
Papaspyridakos P, Chen CJ, Gallucci GO, Doukoudakis A, Weber HP, Chronopoulos V. Accuracy of implant impressions for partially and completely edentulous patients: A systematic review. Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 2014;29:836-45.  Back to cited text no. 6
Spector MR, Donovan TE, Nicholls JI. An evaluation of impression techniques for osseointegrated implants. J Prosthet Dent 1990;63:444-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
Chee W, Jivraj S. Impression techniques for implant dentistry. Br Dent J 2006;201:429-32.  Back to cited text no. 8
McRory ME, Cagna DR. A technique for fabricating single screw-retained implant-supported interim crowns in conjunction with implant surgery. J Prosthet Dent 2014;111:455-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
Gröndahl HG, Gröndahl K. Radiographic examination of the implant patient. In: Lindhe J, Lang N, Karring T, editors. Clinical Periodontology and Implant Dentistry. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell; 2008. p. 600-22.  Back to cited text no. 10
Goodacre CJ, Bernal G, Rungcharassaeng K, Kan JY. Clinical complications with implants and implant prostheses. J Prosthet Dent 2003;90:121-32.  Back to cited text no. 11
Weber HP, Kim DM, Ng MW, Hwang JW, Fiorellini JP. Peri-implant soft-tissue health surrounding cement-and screw-retained implant restorations: A multi-center, 3-year prospective study. Clin Oral Implants Res 2006;17:375-9.  Back to cited text no. 12
Sheets JL, Wilcox C, Wilwerding T. Cement selection for cement-retained crown technique with dental implants. J Prosthodont 2008;17:92-6.  Back to cited text no. 13
Kaufman EG, Coelho DH, Collin L. Factors influencing the retention of cemented gold castings. J Prosthet Dent 1961;11:487-98.  Back to cited text no. 14
Lewis SG, Llamas D, Avera S. The UCLA abutment: A four-year review. J Prosthet Dent 1992;67:509-15.  Back to cited text no. 15
Hebel KS, Gajjar RC. Cement-retained versus screw-retained implant restorations: A chieving optimal occlusion and esthetics in implant dentistry. J Prosthet Dent 1997;77:28-35.  Back to cited text no. 16
Guichet DL, Caputo AA, Choi H, Sorensen JA. Passivity of fit and marginal opening in screw-or cement-retained implant fixed partial denture designs. Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 2000;15:239-46.  Back to cited text no. 17
Jung RE, Zembic A, Pjetursson BE, Zwahlen M, Thoma DS. Systematic review of the survival rate and the incidence of biological, technical, and aesthetic complications of single crowns on implants reported in longitudinal studies with a mean follow-up of 5 years. Clin Oral Implants Res 2012;23 Suppl 6:2-21.  Back to cited text no. 18
Pjetursson BE, Thoma D, Jung R, Zwahlen M, Zembic A. A systematic review of the survival and complication rates of implant-supported fixed dental prostheses (FDPs) after a mean observation period of at least 5 years. Clin Oral Implants Res 2012;23 Suppl 6:22-38.  Back to cited text no. 19
Winkler S, Ring K, Ring JD, Boberick KG. Implant screw mechanics and the settling effect: Overview. J Oral Implantol 2003;29:242-5.  Back to cited text no. 20
Siamos G, Winkler S, Boberick KG. Relationship between implant preload and screw loosening on implant-supported prostheses. J Oral Implantol 2002;28:67-73.  Back to cited text no. 21
Dellinges MA, Tebrock OC. A measurement of torque values obtained with hand-held drivers in a simulated clinical setting. J Prosthodont 1993;2:212-4.  Back to cited text no. 22


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7], [Figure 8], [Figure 9], [Figure 10], [Figure 11], [Figure 12], [Figure 13], [Figure 14], [Figure 15], [Figure 16], [Figure 17], [Figure 18], [Figure 19], [Figure 20], [Figure 21], [Figure 22], [Figure 23], [Figure 24], [Figure 25]

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