When you're missing a tooth, a dental implant is a great way to replace it. However, there are several types of dental implants available today. Read this guide to find out more about your options, and then discuss them with your dentist.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a replacement for the roots of a missing tooth. The most common types of dental implant materials are titanium or zirconia so that the body won't reject them. Most implants look like a metal screw. It will fuse to your jaw in a process called osseointegration.
Your dentist will put the screw in your gums or jawbone, and your body will heal around it. A piece of the implant, called the abutment, sticks up out of your gumline. That's the part of your implant that your dentist will use to attach a bridge or crown (the part of the implant that looks like a tooth).
There are two different types of dental implants and two primary ways of implanting them. Which type and method you get will depend on your body and specific case. However, the results for both kinds are healthy, natural-looking, and functional teeth.
The first type of dental implant is called an endosteal implant. Endosteal implants are put into your jaw bone. This is the most common type of dental implant. It's beneficial because it doesn't put pressure on the neighboring teeth, and it's incredibly sturdy.
Because they are so sturdy, endosteal implants can hold more than one tooth if you have multiple missing teeth right next to each other. Endosteal implants can last a lifetime when you practice good oral hygiene and have regular dental check-ups.
The other kind of dental implant is far less common. Subperiosteal implants don't go all the way into your bone. Instead, your dentist will place them in your gums on top of your jaw bone.
As you heal, the implant will start to fuse to your bone to form the anchor for your implant. This method is not as sturdy as an endosteal implant, so it's only used when a patient has a very shallow jaw bone that won't support an endosteal implant.
Even though they aren't as sturdy as endosteal implants, subperiosteal implants can still last a long time with proper care and regular dental visits.
There are two ways that dentists will install your implants. The first way is one-step implantation, also called a single-stage procedure. For this procedure, your dentist will install a long implant that sticks up out of your gumline.
Once you've healed, then your dentist will fix the crown in place on top of the implant. This is a single-stage procedure because it only requires one surgery. This means it's a faster way of getting an implant in place. However, because it is faster the implant is not fused as securely as in a two-stage procedure.
Two-step implants, also known as two-stage procedures, require two surgeries. This method takes much longer because you need healing time between the surgeries. From the beginning to the point where your dentist puts in your crown, this process can take up to six months.
The first surgery is to place the implant. Your dentist will either screw it into your jawbone or place it on top of the bone, then stitch up the incision and let you heal. During the healing time, the implant will fuse securely to your bone.
The second surgery is when your dentist attaches the abutment to the implant and adds the crown. First, your dentist will make another incision to expose the top of the implant, and then they will attach the abutment and crown.
A two-stage procedure will usually give you a more secure bone attachment, which helps the implant last longer. Dentists tend to choose this method when possible as it gets the best results. However, the best type of dental implants is the type that works best for you and your body.
Mini Implants for Dentures and Orthodontia
Another common type of implant is a mini dental implant. They are much shallower and are usually used to anchor dentures in place rather than individual teeth. A dentist will place few mini implants spaced out over the area the dentures cover, and the dentures will fit over the top of the implants.
This provides a more permanent hold for dentures, which may be more comfortable for some denture users than removable dentures.
Mini implants are also called Temporary Anchorage Devices (also known as TADs) when they're used in orthodontia to help hold teeth in the right alignment. Because mini implants are shallower, they won't fuse to the bone as securely and can eventually be removed if necessary.
During the process of getting dental implants, you may need additional procedures to get your jaw ready for the implants. Implants on the upper jaw occasionally need bone grafts because there is less bone there for an implant to latch onto. You may also need a bone graft if there is damage to your jaw or your jaw is naturally shallow.
Consulting with a dentist is an important part of the implant process. This will give you a chance to look at all the best options for your specific case and let you know what the different types of dental implants cost.
Now You Know the Types of Dental Implants
While there are two main types of dental implants and two primary implant procedures, there are lots of ways they can be adjusted for your personal needs. Getting a dental implant is as specific to you as your original tooth, so you should be happy with the result.
The right dentist will help you find the implant that works best for your needs and that looks and feels the way you want it to. Contact us to make an appointment to discuss which type of dental implants are right for you.