A dental implant is usually placed when a client has lost a tooth but, how many different types of dental implants exist, are you a viable candidate, and which type of dental implant is best suited for you? There are not as many types of dental implants as you might have thought, as there are some dental procedures that do not constitute an official dental implant method. There are only 3 different types of implants that are offered by most dentists and periodontists. We are going to take a look at the Endosteal, Subperiosteal, and Zygomatic implants, which of those is the safest, most common, and accepted method, procedures, and techniques, what types of dentists perform implants, why certain implants are suggested, and how they can benefit you.
Types of Dental Implants
Endosteal implants are the safest and most common type of dental implant in the industry. The procedure relies on screw-shaped posts that are fastened to your jawbone to act as an artificial root that holds the replacement tooth in place. Once the procedure is completed, it does take some time to heal as the posts need time to fuse with the bone in your jaw and create a stronghold. It is at this stage that the false tooth or teeth can be placed onto the screws to fit in with your surrounding teeth.
For the oral surgeon to properly determine if an endosteal implant is the best option to replace your missing teeth, there are a few other important criteria that they expect possible candidates to meet before proceeding with the procedure.
- You should be in good general health
- Have optimal oral health (healthy gums, and tissues, no gingivitis or periodontal disease)
- Fully grown jawbone (enough bone in your jaw)
- Incapacity or reluctance to wear dentures.
- Should not be a frequent tobacco user.
For the patients who meet the above criteria and are deemed ideal candidates for endosteal implants but are not too fond of the idea of anything being fastened into your jawbone, you may prefer Subperiosteal implants.
The second most popular and suggested dental implant is the subperiosteal implant. It is the go-to substitute option for the Endosteal implant.
Instead of being fixed into the jawbone, subperiosteal implants rest on top of the bone yet still below the gum, making it less invasive. The oral surgeon places a metal frame underneath the gum that the screw-like posts can then be attached to and once the gum heals around the frame, it helps secure it in place as the false teeth secure the poles that protrude from the newly healed gums.
This cosmetic dental procedure is usually only recommended and performed if the patient doesn’t have sufficient jawbone for an implant to be positioned if as previously mentioned, the candidate simply is not interested in an endosteal implant or doesn’t want to endure a much more intensive oral surgery to add bone to the area.
If the above option sounds like something you’re interested in, now you have a general idea of what to expect before surgery and have a starting point to discuss with your oral surgeon.
Last but certainly not least as it managed to make the list is the Zygomatic implants that are, as you may have guessed the least common of the three dental implants that may be suggested to you. Compared to the other two procedures, it is rarely used as it is the most complex procedure and should only be done if you don’t have enough bone in your jaw for the Endosteal implant.
You might be wondering if I do not have enough jawbone, where do they install the implants? This procedure requires the Zygomatic implant to be placed in the cheekbone. The implant is placed in the patient’s cheekbone rather than the jawbone
The type of dental implant you receive truly does solely depend on your overall health and oral health. The better your health, the more options you have but now that you know a bit more about the most common types of implants, we can focus on other techniques that cosmetic dentists and periodontists also suggest to patients whose jaw cannot sufficiently support implants and the Zygomatic implant is not an option
Simply put, bone augmentation (bone grafting) is a procedure that is typically only performed when the existing bone mass in your jaw is insufficient and not able to successfully support dental implants. Luckily, with the advancement of technology and medical procedures, doctors are now able to grow bone where it is needed.
Recovery time from a dental procedure like bone augmentation can vary. You may feel back to normal within a week or two, give or take but complete dental bone graft healing can take anywhere between 3-9 months and sometimes even longer. Again, the healing time depends on factors such as the type of bone graft, the area in which it was placed and your body’s natural ability to heal itself when following the post-op aftercare instructions.
Keep in mind that all these alternative procedures including a Sinus Lift are just another way to find a place where they can add bone that will be able to support a dental implant. A sinus lift requires that bone be added below the sinus, but only if the existing bone has previously deteriorated due to missing upper back teeth.
Like any invasive oral surgery, a sinus lift will take time to heal. You are considered fully recovered from a procedure like a sinus lift within a minimum of 6 months as it takes time for the sinuses to heal as well as the bone to be strong enough to be able to support a permanent dental implant.
A Ridge Expansion
Sometimes your jaw may just not be big enough to support any type of implant. If such is the case, the oral surgeon may suggest the next best option of undergoing a Ridge expansion. This procedure requires the ridge bone (top of the jawbone) to be divided, then both the inner and outer sections of the bone are then separated. The new space between the newly separated bone is then filled with bone graft.
There are so many different options that are available to prepare your mouth for different types of dental implants, but it is important to understand that not every option may be what is best for your specific needs.
The different types of dentists that perform implants
You guessed it, there are a few different types of dental professionals that can successfully perform implants and as a patient, it is important to know the difference between them and their qualifications.
When you have a cavity or a missing tooth, your first call will be to your dentist. They will discuss your available options for replacing any missing teeth. If a dental implant is a good option, they may recommend and refer you to a specialist who is trained to be able to perform dental implant surgery. If your dentist is part of a larger practice that houses the necessary equipment, there would be less of a reason for them to refer you to a specialist. Whereas smaller practices that lack the necessary tools required to complete the surgery will almost always refer you to a specialist elsewhere.
The best and perhaps most common type of dental professional that can perform dental implants is either a maxillofacial surgeon or an oral surgeon. All oral and maxillofacial surgeons are thoroughly trained in general dentistry but maxillofacial specialize in operations to help correct diseases, defects, and problems with the bones and tissues in your jaw, lower face, and mouth, as well as injuries. Patients in need of a bone graft before dental implant surgery are most often those who are referred to a maxillofacial surgeon professional.
Oral surgeons can and do perform several different surgical procedures such as the removal of wisdom teeth and root canals but can also fit their patients for dentures and dental crowns regularly.
Periodontists can also perform implant surgery, but their specialty lies within the health of your gums. If a patient has periodontal disease, a general dentist may refer the patient to a periodontist (gum surgeon). It may be necessary for a periodontist to be involved with the process of the Subperiosteal implant surgery, especially if the gums are not healing properly or if they become infected.
Prosthodontists are general dentists that specialize in tooth repair and replacing missing or damaged teeth with artificial alternatives such as dentures. A prosthodontist is a dental professional called in to complete the final step of the implant surgery. They are specialists in the placement of the custom crown if the implant was to replace just one single tooth. Periodontists are specialists that affix any bridge or denture to replace multiple missing teeth and can be fitted to a singular implant.
As general dentists can perform this final step just as well as their colleague specialists, some patients may return to them to have the final placement and fitting of the implant done by their dentist. Patients may also seek the services of a prosthodontist to complete the implant procedure from beginning to end.
The Reason Dentist Offer Dental Implants and Their Benefits
Dental implants may be the best option for you and there may be many reasons that a dentist and other dental professionals will offer dental implants as a solution to their patients with missing or damaged teeth. The benefits are nothing short of life-changing for most people as they offer a permanent solution to restoring your aesthetic appearance.
Dental implants are the only real option for replacing missing teeth, offering permanent restoration that will not loosen with time and can last for the rest of your life if properly cared for. With this said, it can dramatically improve not only your oral health but your speech, and your ability to chew. It is also a great catalyst in helping to prevent the further deterioration of the jawbone, reducing the risk of additional tooth loss and is much more convenient. In the end, the reason dentists offer dental implants to their patients is mainly to help improve their oral health and overall appearance.