Dental implants have become the hottest way to replace missing or failing teeth. They provide a permanent solution for your smile.
While your exact size and shape are unique, all dental implants fall into one of three categories. Choosing the right one for you will depend on your time and the bone mass of your jaw.
1. Endosteal Implants
These are by far the most common form of dental implants. They replace newly lost teeth or teeth that have been gone for some time.
It takes some time to prepare your mouth for an endosteal implant. First, the dentist will install an endosteal post into your jawbone. The post has a large screw thread on the outside to grip the bone and a smaller thread on the inside that will fit the tooth. In some cases, the dentist will put a small, metal cap, called an abutment, on the post. Why? Because it takes time for the bone to heal around the post.
After the bone has healed, your dentist will create a crown that fits into the empty space. At your last appointment, your dentist will fit the tooth and affix it in place with a screw that goes through the tooth and into the post. The final step is to cover the screw, making the implant invisible.
Endosteal implants work best for people that have healthy jawbones with little or no bone loss.
2. Mini Dental Implants
If you have had some bone loss or a small mouth or jaw, endosteal implants may not work well for you. Instead, mini dental implants may work much better. Unlike endosteal implants, the mini implants are much, much smaller. They are about the width of a toothpick. They can be smaller because they have a ball at the top instead of a hole for a screw. The crown fits over the ball with a small socket that keeps the tooth permanently attached to your mouth.
The much smaller posts heal faster. They don’t require as much bone mass, so they are ideal for people who have smaller jaws or who have experienced some bone loss in their jaws. So, you have a fresh smile in almost half the time needed for endosteal implants.
3. Subperiosteal Implants
In some cases, patients may not have enough bone in their jaw to support an implant. This may be due to reabsorption of bone after tooth loss, or an injury that caused tooth loss may have affected the jawbones. Regardless, there is still an implant option that can work.
Subperiosteal implants don’t insert anything into the bone. Instead, the implant is attached to a metal frame that wraps around the jawbone.
This treatment takes more time than either the endosteal or mini implants because it requires more time to heal.
In the first step for a subperiosteal implant, your dentist will make a small incision in the gums, place the metal cage around your jawbone, then suture the gums back together and allow the bone to heal around the wire frame. After healing, the dentist then opens the gum in a few places and inserts the posts into the wireframe. Then, like the other implants, the crown is attached to the posts.
Knowing what type is right for you is a decision between you and your dentist. Dr. Crump at BC Perio uses the latest technology to show you how your bones will handle each option.