Types of Dental Implants
by Dr. Scott Bolding
Having gaps in your smile can affect both your confidence and you oral health. That’s why it’s important to replace missing teeth as soon as possible. Luckily there are several options, including dental implants. If you are considering this option to replace your missing teeth you may want to discuss the different types and techniques for dental implants with your dentist.
The right type of dental implant will depend on your needs. The same is true for different techniques of placing dental implants. In the post below, we will discuss the main types of dental implants, as well as the ways they are placed in your mouth. Hopefully, this information will help you get a better understanding of what type of dental implant you need.
Types of Dental Implants
There are two main types of dental implants: endosteal and subperiosteal. While endosteal implants are most commonly used, subperiosteal implants are also used in some cases. The right type of implant for you will depend on your needs and overall oral health.
Endosteal Dental Implants
An endosteal implant is made up of an artificial tooth root placed directly into the jawbone. The implant protrudes through the gum with the abutment and crown being placed on top.
Endosteal implants are the most common type of dental implant available. If you are considering dental implants to replace a missing tooth, your oral surgeon will most likely recommend this type of dental implant.
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Subperiosteal Dental Implants
Subperiosteal dental implants are still placed under the gums but lie on top of the jawbone. Even though endosteal implants are more common, subperiosteal implants are a great option for people who have a weak jawbone.
Which Type of Implant is Right for You?
Determining which type of dental implant is right for you depends on your unique case. Typically, we recommend endosteal implants for most of our patients. However, we make sure they have a healthy jawbone first.
Endosteal implants tend to take more time, mostly due to healing and recovery.
However, thanks to advancements in dental technology we are able to cut down on a lot of that time. With digital smile design and robotic assistance, we are able to plan out your smile more accurately, which makes the placement process go faster. Techniques like same-day dental implants make it possible for you to have a full set of teeth while your jaw bone fuses to the implant.
All of this new technology makes endosteal implants an even better option than they already were.
Subperiosteal implants are usually only recommended for patients who are not a good candidate for endosteal implants. For example, subperiosteal implants are the way to go if you have a weak jaw bone.
Techniques for Dental Implants
There are also different techniques for dental implants. Again the one your oral surgeon uses depends on your needs.
Teeth in a Day
Same-day dental implants are a type of dental implant procedure. Both the implants and temporary replacement teeth are inserted in just one day. We first place one or more titanium screws in the jaw bone. Then, we top the implants off with abutment pieces (small posts that act as anchors holding the artificial teeth in place) and the replacement teeth.
We call this process “immediate loading” because each part is “loaded”, or placed, “immediately” after the other. Same-day implants can save you from months of insecurity while waiting for your permanent teeth. With the temporary ones in place, you won’t have to worry about continuing to see and feel that gap in your mouth while you heal.
Same-day implants are a great option for many people but are not necessarily essential for every patient. While there are certain cases that require a patient to receive a new tooth as soon as possible to avoid health problems like super eruption, they are generally more of a convenient option for those who would like a “quick fix.”
And the good news is that the quick fix doesn’t come with a catch; your replacement teeth will not look any less natural, the procedure won’t cause any additional issues or risks, and the implants themselves will not be any less durable. Your same-day implants will provide the same benefits as traditional ones, plus some.
Using a crown, a single prosthesis replaces one or a few missing teeth, and each artificial tooth is attached to a separate, individual implant. They can be used for an entire row of teeth, but using single implants to replace a whole row requires more surgery–costing you more time and money. If you need more than one implant in a row, it’s best to consider other options.
Using a fixed bridge (several crowns bonded together), a partial prosthesis replaces two or more missing teeth with just two or three implants–typically with a gap in between, to make way for the extra tooth or teeth on the bridge. This is not to be confused with the traditional dental bridge, which attaches to surrounding natural tooth roots rather than artificial implants. A partial prosthesis can also include partial dentures, which essentially connect two bridges at different locations on the jaw with a metal connector–supported by implants.
Using a fixed bridge, a complete prosthesis replaces all of the teeth on the upper and/or lower jaw. There are two different types of complete prostheses–removable and fixed. A removable prosthesis, also called an Overdenture, attaches to several implant abutments (the connections between each implant to a crown/bridge/denture) and can be snapped in and out by the patient. A fixed prosthesis, or permanent denture, also attaches to several abutments but is removable only by a dentist. When receiving complete prostheses on both the maxillary (top) and mandibular (bottom) jawbone, there are several attachment methods considered by our team:
- All-on-4, which means that 2 implants go on top, while the other 2 go on the bottom
- All-on-6, or 3-on-6 (3 implants on top, 3 implants on bottom)
- All-on-8 (the least common of the three, and typically 4 implants on top, 4 implants on bottom)
These methods determine how sturdy an implant is; the more implants, the more sturdy. However, the situation at hand determines whether more or less are needed.
Types of Dental Implants
The More You Know
The more you can know about dental implants the easier it will be to make the right decision. It’s important to discuss types and techniques for dental implants with your oral surgeon. They will be able to help you understand why a certain technique or implant type is better for you.