November 12, 2020

The Different Types of Dental Implants Explained

types of dental implants

A gap in your smile can shatter your self-confidence and affect your eating habits too. If you’re told by your dentist that one or more of your teeth are on shaky ground, you might worry about suddenly needing them extracted.

Fortunately, dental implants return a smile that can last a lifetime, with teeth often better-looking than the ones that they replace. If you or a family member are considering this procedure, you’ll need to know about the types of dental implants available, so you can make an informed choice.

These teeth look and feel so good that you have to take care of them in the same way as real teeth, to avoid plaque buildup – Read on!

Endosteal Implants

Dentists consider these to be the safest and best dental implants. They are also the most common, but they aren’t suitable for some people. Endosteal implants are a good alternative to a bridge or removable dentures.

During the procedure, the dentist places a titanium post (that resembles a screw) inside the jawbone, forming an artificial root. It can take several months for the bone and soft tissue to heal but it will function and feel like a natural tooth.

These are the most stable of the options, but because of this, they require a healthy jawbone. If you’ve had a missing tooth for a significant amount of time, you will probably have lost bone mass in your jaw. To become eligible for this type of implant, you’d then need to be evaluated for bone graft surgery, or you could consider this next implant option.

Subperiosteal Implants

For a shallow jaw or poor bone quality, this type of tooth implant might work best. During the procedure, the dentist places the post inside the gum, but it rests ON the jawbone, rather than inside it. For stability, a metal frame is required under the gum, which is fixed to the post.

Why would a patient need to opt for the subperiosteal implant instead of the endosteal? The reason is that they don’t have enough jawbone to support the endosteal and that they don’t want the more extensive oral surgery required to graft bone.

Presently, its use is pretty rare, but in the past, it was used to keep dentures in place if a patient had shallow bone height. It’s less stable than the endosteal implant, but it has a shorter treatment plan.

Zygomatic Implants

Of all three dental implant types, this one is the most complex and is rarely used, so it’s the least common.

They are designed for patients with bone loss and involve an implant in the cheekbone as opposed to the jawbone. This method avoids the need for bone grafting, by using longer, tilted implants.

Immediate-Loading Implants

When considering tooth implant options, this one sounds the most appealing, but it requires optimal conditions. The decision to opt for this type of implant needs to be made prior to the removal of the tooth which is to be replaced.

Because the implant is installed at the same time as the tooth extraction, it has a better chance of fusing well with the jawbone.

Mini Dental Implants

Also referred to as MDIs, these are small/narrow-diameter implants – the size of toothpicks. Because of their smaller size, they can be surgically implanted through the gum and into the jawbone, with only light anesthesia.

Their primary use is to stabilize dentures, but they are also an option for people averse to more invasive oral surgery.

All on 4 Implants

When all teeth are missing, due to decay or gum disease, these types of dental implants might be appropriate. With this procedure, a full arch of teeth fixes to only 4 implants, though sometimes the number of posts might be 5 or 6.

Bone grafting is not required and the dentist is able to place temporary teeth on the same day. You do have to follow a special diet for 6 months, at which time the permanent set is ready for fitting.

Single-Stage Procedure

Also called a one-stage or nonsubmergible. With this method, the abutment (connecting piece) is installed during the initial surgery. Because of this, a second surgery is not required to expose the head of the implant.

A patient needs good bone quality for this method, and the tissue usually needs six months to heal before placing the tooth. In exceptional conditions, the crown can be placed at the same time, though it’s safest to not subject the tooth to biting forces until it’s fully healed.

Two-Stage Procedure

This is the typical method of installing a dental implant. Although the process is longer, it has long-term benefits. The dentist will fix the post onto the jawbone so that the bone fuses to it and heals with the implant inside.

After the initial surgery to implant the post, the patient only needs a minor surgery to attach the abutment and crown (tooth). After the procedure, the dental implant will function like a regular tooth.

Types of Dental Implants

We’ve run through the different types of dental implants and you might have a good idea which one is the right fit for you or your family member.  If you still have some outstanding questions or concerns, it’s time to reach out and speak to the experts.

If you live in Georgia, or nearby, and are considering dental implants, we can help you smile again. We are one of the largest dental implant practices in the country and provide exceptional care and treatment outcomes.

Contact us today to request a consultation.