For patients who are missing teeth, implant dentistry offers the opportunity to once again have aesthetically pleasing and functional teeth. A single dental implant or multiple dental implants can be secured to the jawbone and capped with natural-looking prosthetic teeth for a comfortable, confident smile. Although all dental implants serve the same goal, there are several different types of dental implants that can be used. Your surgeon can help you decide which option is best for you. This section contains information about the most common types of dental implants:
Root-Form Titanium Implants
Root-form titanium posts are what most people think of when they think of dental implants. These are also known as endosseous or endosteal imlants, because they are implanted directly into the bone. These tiny posts resemble screws, and are made of corrosion-resistant titanium. In order to receive root-form implants, you must have a sufficient amount of jawbone for the posts to be inserted. During a process known as osseointegration, the root-form titanium posts will fuse with the bone, creating a strong anchor for the placement of a dental restoration.
Unlike other types of dental implants, sub-periosteal implants are placed on top of the bone, not inside. This is ideal for patients who do not have enough bone material to support an endosteal implant. A model of the jawbone will be created during an initial dental visit and sent to a laboratory where a custom implant will be created. During a second dental appointment, a qualified oral surgeon will place the implant on top of the bone, but under the gums.
Plate-form dental implants are usually recommended for individuals who have a particularly narrow jaw bone and are unable to undergo a bone grafting procedure. This type of dental implant is long and rectangular. In addition, it has two prongs on the end that stick up into the mouth and provide an anchor for the artificial tooth to be placed.
Commonly used in patients with a thin lower jawbone, ramus-frame tooth implants are placed in the jaw at the back of the mouth and near the chin. Full or partial dentures are then made to fit on the thin metal bar that is visible above the gum tissue, once it heals.
Visit the DocShop gallery to view dental implant before and after photos.
Photo credit: Dr. Dianna Lenick
Find a Dentist
Regardless of the type of dental implant that you receive, the implant procedure takes place over two dental appointments. During the first appointment, implants will be placed into the jaw. Once the mouth has healed, typically in about three months, you can return to your dentist’s office to receive your replacement teeth. Find a dentist near you to find out if dental implants are right for you.