Whenever you are considering getting one or more teeth replaced there are many options to consider. Dental implants have come a long way in the last twenty or thirty years. There are some very convenient solutions available now, and there are many different types of implants. Each type of implant is designed to provide certain advantages. Now, your dentist will consult with you and make sure to suggest the best options available however it can be constructive to have a basic understanding of dental implants and the options available. This way you can make a more informed decision on the options that your dentist suggest.
Types of Dental implants:
There are two basic kinds of implants. Nearly all implants follow these two patterns.
Endosteal: Endosteal is a type of implant that is implanted directly into the jaw bone. This anchors the implant allowing it to provide support for replacement teeth in a way that is very similar to how natural teeth attached to the jaw bone. These implants are usually made of titanium which provides a light and slightly flexible anchor for the replacement tooth. Endosteal implants are usually shaped like small screws. These are the most common type of implant, and they are usually the best option. Most other types of implants are only used when there is not enough solid jaw bone to anchor the new tooth into.
Subperiosteal: This is a type of implant that does not make a direct connection to the jaw bone. This implant goes under the gum but above or just on top of the actual jaw bone. This type of implant is used for patients without enough solid, healthy jaw bone to support an implant. These tend to be used in cases where it would be unwise to use an endosteal implant and where bone augmentation is not an option. This type of dental implant is rarely used in situations where an endosteal implant is possible.
Bone Augmentation: When the jaw bone is unhealthy or if it is not stable enough to support an endosteal implant bone augmentation is usually suggested. Bone augmentation is a remarkably easy process where bone additives and growth factors are used to promote healthy dense bones that are ideal for anchoring. The bone augmentation process takes time in order to regrow dense and healthy bone tissue. This regrowth not only creates ideal spots to anchor implants but also promotes healthy jaw bone. It is not always an option for the patient to undergo this procedure, but it is a reasonably non-invasive one. Where possible this is the preferred method.
Jaw bone can deteriorate where teeth have been missing for a long time. This sometimes occurs in the back of the mouth when the wisdom teeth have been removed. This kind of deterioration can occur in any places that have not supported teeth for a long time. This deterioration is relatively common even in patients with healthy jaw bones. The body just does not maintain what it does not use. Because of this deterioration, bone augmentation is a fairly regular procedure even among healthy patients.
There are other processes which can be used to strengthen areas deterioration of the jaw bones. These are mostly used wherever regular bone augmentation is not an option, and the need for anchor points in the jaw is great. These procedures generally involve grafting bone where it is needed to provide a solid anchor point for new teeth. These processes are a bit involved, but they can be useful whenever other options are not available.
Immediate Load Dental Implants: This type of implant is a variation on the endosteal implant. Immediate load dental implants are often anchored to the jaw bone and then fitted with a temporary tooth. This is usually done so that the implant has time to integrate into the jaw bone. It can take some time for the jaw bone to strengthen around the implant. During this time a temporary tooth fitted to