What Are The Four Types of Dental Implants? Which is Right for You?

Published: Corner Dentistry & Orthodontics

Even the best looked after teeth may accidentally become damaged and need to be replaced. For many people, dentures or bridges can help restore a smile, but for a permanent solution that looks and feels like their own, patients might opt for dental implants.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are intended to replace the tooth roots and provide a strong foundation for permanent or removable replacement teeth, either because the whole tooth is already missing or it needs to be replaced due to damage or disease. 

The implants themselves are traditionally screw-like structures that a dental surgeon will insert into the jawbone that act as an anchor for the artificial tooth, also known as a crown. The crown is custom made to each patient to match the look and feel of the teeth around it so that once the implant is placed and healed, it feels like a natural tooth. An abudentment, which is a small piece of metal, goes on top of the dental implants and acts as a base to connect the crown to the dental implant and secure it.

Your dentist will be able to determine if your tooth needs to be removed before they discuss dental implants. While there are many benefits to getting dental implants if you do need to replace a missing tooth or multiple teeth, you need to have a healthy jaw in order for the implant to be successful. 

Types of Dental Implants 

Endosteal/endosseous dental implants

Endosteal dental implants are the most common dental implant used today. This type of implant is made usually from titanium and is shaped like small screws that are placed in the jawbone. Once they are implanted into the jaw bone, the mouth and gums are given a few weeks to heal over. After the mouth has healed, the dental surgeon will expose the implant through the gum and attach the abudentment to it, and then finally the crown. 

Subperiosteal implants 

If you need implants but your jaw isn’t healthy enough to support them, your dentist may suggest a subperiosteal implant instead. Subperiosteal implants use a metal frame shaped like a bridge, usually made from titanium, and is placed between the jawbone and the gum, underneath the periosteum. The periosteum is a thin layer of tissue between the jawbone and the gum and helps bones heal if they are damaged.

As with endosteal dental implants, subperiosteal implants are placed and then left to heal before the posts and crowns are placed. They are best for patients who need to replace multiple teeth in one section of the mouth or those with jawbone issues who do not want to undergo bone grafting. However, your dental surgeon will examine and make recommendations based on your health and needs. 

All-on-4 implants

The other option for replacing multiple missing teeth are all-on-4 implants. Instead of having to replace each tooth individually, all-on-4 dental implants allow dentists to insert four posts into the jawbone as anchors and then attach a permanent denture to the four posts. 

The benefits of getting all-on-4 implants is less procedure time and often can cost less than multiple traditional endosteal implants. Candidates for these types of dental implants need to have a high level of jaw bone available since there are four posts that are placed into the bone. 

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