Dental technology has come a long way, and today, dental restorations are virtually indistinguishable from real teeth. However, because our mouths and bodies function uniquely, dental implants also come in different types and sizes, so each patient can get the perfect fit, depending on how bad the teeth condition might be. To help you understand the difference, we’ve highlighted the types of dental implants available in the realm of dental surgery, as well as all you need to know about them.
What exactly are dental implants?
Before we get to the part where we highlight the different types, it is essential that you first grasp what a dental implant is, and how it works.
According to the American dental association, a dental implant is a titanium metal frame, which is surgically inserted into the jaw bone, allowing the replacement of natural teeth. In a layman language, dental implants are artificial substitutes for dental roots and teeth. They are considered the ideal option in replacing missing teeth as they replace both the tooth and the root, hence acting like natural teeth once they heal.
How they work
As mentioned above, the implants are usually directly inserted into the jawbone. Over time, these tend to fuse with your natural bone tissue, creating a stable anchor for the replacement tooth. Therefore, any dentures or bridges that are mounted on these implants remain stable, and won’t shift when you speak or eat just like natural teeth!
Types of dental implants
- Endosteal implants
These are the most common and widely used types of implants. They are also considered the most reliable by the American Dental Association, and hence more recommendable. They are made of small titanium screws and are usually directly placed inside the jawbone. However, they require a healthy jawbone to fuse to and are carried out in two stages.
The screws are surgically attached to the jawbone, and the patient is sent home to create time for healing. Once the gum surrounding the implant heals and has fused with the surrounding tissue, a second procedure is carried out where the false teeth refitted onto the implants.
Endosteal implants are also known as root form, and they use titanium screws shaped like a real teeth root. These might take your gums three to six months to heal, depending on the patient.
- Subperiosteal implants
This is the second most common type of implant and is also the main alternative to the latter. Unlike the Endosteal implants which are inserted into the jawbone, during this procedure, the implant is attached directly on top of the jawbone. However, it remains under the gum. Once the gum around the titanium screw heals, the artificial teeth are then secured on it individually or as dentures.
In this procedure, the implants are usually flat and long and are commonly referred to as plate form implants.
Subperiosteal implants are usually for patients who lack enough healthy jawbone to accommodate the implants. However, such patients still have hope as several procedures can be carried out to help rebuild their jawbone, thus enabling them to have the implants inserted inside their jawbone. These include
– Bone augmentation
– Ridge expansion
– Sinus Lift
These are the least common and also the most complicated types of implants. Unlike the two shown above, these are placed on the cheekbone instead of the jawbone. They are only implanted if you lack enough jawbone for both endosteal and subperiosteal implants and you are not willing to undergo extensive bone restoration processes.
The first two types of implants are considered the safest forms of implants. While zygomatic implants might work for you, the American dental association only recommends the first two. If you have lost your tooth permanently, don’t worry as you can get implants and enjoy your life again as they are indistinguishable from natural teeth.