Dental implants have been in use since the sixties, but as technology has advanced, they’ve become a far more commonly suggested solution. That’s because they offer many advantages over other types of treatment for tooth loss. There are two major types of dental implant, and several varieties of each type.
Here’s an outline of the two basic categories:
Endosteal Dental Implants
Endosteal means “in the bone” And as you might expect, that means that this type of replacement is surgically implanted in the jaw bone. The base of the implant is typically a titanium screw, while the visible part of the implant looks exactly like one of your own natural teeth. The post is implanted first, and it protrudes up through the gum tissue. Once the post has been installed, the upper part of the implant-the part that looks like a tooth-is attached to it. Endosteal implants help to stimulate the jaw bone to remain strong and supportive, just as the root of a natural tooth does. Unlike dentures, endosteal implants do not require glue or other adhesive.
Subperiosteal Dental Implants
Endosteal implants can only be used when the patient’s jaw bone is sufficiently thick for the dentist to install the titanium post. If this isn’t the case, however, there’s another option. Because the jaw isn’t thick enough to insert the posts directly into it, the surgeon installs a metal frame around the jaw bone. This metal frame is fixed to the jaw bone as the mouth heals. Attached to the frame are the metal posts upon which the implants are installed. Like endosteal implants, the visible implants will look just like natural teeth.
Which Type Of Implant Do You Need?
Only your dentist can make that distinction, but there are some general rules that are used to decide. Generally speaking, if your jaw is healthy and your tooth loss is recent (and if you only need one or two teeth replaced), an endosteal implant or group of endosteal implants may be ideal. If, however, your tooth loss happened a long time ago, the jaw bone in that area may have already begun to thin and weaken. If that’s the case, a subperiosteal dental implant may be more suitable.
Subperiosteal implants are also a better solution for those with other conditions which cause their bones to be fragile, and may be a better solution in certain cases where multiple teeth need to be replaced.
Another option for multiple tooth replacement is a hybrid treatment. Sometimes, dentists will install one or more endosteal implants to provide support for a bridge or tooth replacement solution.
Typically, if you’re seeking tooth replacement, your dentist will be able to explain several different options which incorporate dental implants and the benefits and advantages each option offers. Then, you can decide on the solution that’s most suitable for your lifestyle and budget, based on your dentist’s recommendations as well as your own personal preferences when it comes to your treatment.