Types of Dental Implants
When it comes to our dental health, most of us are committed to doing everything possible to maintain the strength, functionality, and appearance of our natural teeth. Despite best efforts, a number of patients will still experience extensive decay or a trauma that leads to the loss or necessary extraction of one of our teeth.
Tooth loss can have a considerable impact on our lives, affecting not only the appearance of our smile, but also our ability to bite, chew, and even speak. Patients who suffer from tooth loss also find that they suffer from low-confidence and self-esteem, feel less attractive and even avoid social situations, where they feel the gap in their smile may be far too noticeable.
Until fairly recently, a dental bridge or partial denture was the only way of replacing a single gap in your teeth, while dentures were used to replace full arches where the patient had multiple teeth missing.
Although these treatments continue to be successful, they aren’t without limitations. Bridgework relies on the patient having secure, healthy teeth to anchor to, and is known for brittleness and high maintenance requirements.
Similarly, patients are known to find dentures uncomfortable and inconvenient. Thankfully, innovations in the dental field have led to the creation of dental implants – a revolutionary solution for single and multiple missing teeth that eliminates the problems experienced by wearers of bridgework or dentures.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a secure, robust and permanent solution for gaps in your smile. Implants are comprised of two main components, which are securely fastened together using a connector called an abutment.
The lower part of the implant is a titanium post. This biocompatible piece of metal is inserted into the jaw directly, below the gap in your smile, where it fuses to the bone to create a secure foundation for the implant. The visible portion of the tooth is created from a porcelain crown, which can be color-matched to the existing teeth so that it looks like a completely natural part of your smile.
Types of dental implant
Currently, three types of dental implant are approved for use by the American Dental Association (ADA).
Endosteal implants are the most commonly used type of dental implant. They are surgically implanted into the jaw bone, where they fuse to is in a process known as osseointegration. The implant posts are placed into the jaw and left to heal for several weeks or months, and the patient is fitted with temporary crowns. Once healing is complete and the implant post is effectively fused to the jaw, the final custom-designed crowns can be fitted on to the implant posts using an abutment connector. This type of implant is used for both single implants and implant-supported bridges.
The main alternative to endosteal implants, subperiosteal implants use a frame that is fitted under the gum with implant posts attached to it. The gums heal around the frame, securing it and creating a base for the dental implants. Subperiosteal implants are usually recommended for patients who do not have sufficient jaw bone density to be able to support a dental implant, and for whom bone grafts are either not possible or simply not wanted.
The least commonly used type of implant, zygomatic implants are a complex procedure used when patients don’t have sufficient jaw bone for conventional implants. They are longer than traditional implants, and instead anchor to the cheekbone known as the zygomatic arch.
If you are missing one or more teeth, and you are fed up