By age 17, an estimated 7% of people have lost at least one permanent tooth due to decay. By the time a person turns 50, the number goes from one tooth to 12!
Having so many missing teeth can cause depression due to a lack of self-confidence, as well as impact your physical well-being. The best way to fix the problem is by selecting dental implants alongside your dentist.
Before you begin weighing your options, it’s essential to know what they are, the pros and cons and what’s involved. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the different types of implants available and discover which ones would be best for restoring your smile.
What Are Implants?
Dental implants are medical devices that are implanted into a person’s jaw via surgery. If everything goes well, it can restore the patient’s bite force and return their smile to its former glory. They can also provide support for dentures, crowns, and bridges.
The dental implant procedure is made up of three parts. The first part is the implant body. It’s placed into the jaw to act as a replacement tooth root.
The next part is the abutment. It attaches to the body and sticks out of the gum to support the artificial tooth, which is the third part.
Types of Dental Implants
The first step in selecting dental implants is to learn about your options. Endosteal implants are the most common, but not everyone is a good match for them.
Depending on your situation, you may have to go with subperiosteal or the much less common zygomatic implants.
An endosteal implant involves placing a titanium fixture into the jaw bone. The fixture acts as the artificial root that will hold your implant firmly in place.
Your dentist won’t be able to place the implant until your jawbone begins to heal. Even with proper dental implant care, this process could take three months or more.
It’s important to note that only candidates with a strong, healthy jawbone qualify for endosteal implants.
If your jawbone isn’t healthy enough for endosteal implants, you might be a good candidate for subperiosteal. The implant won’t be going inside your jawbone.
Instead, it will sit right under the tissue between your jawbone and gums. Your dentist will have to perform this procedure in two steps, but the healing time isn’t as long as it is with endosteal implants.
The downside is that while subperiosteal implants offer more stability than dentures, they’re not as sturdy as their endosteal counterparts. For this reason, endosteal implants are often preferred by patients.
Zygomatic implants are the least common option available because the procedure is so complicated. Chances are, your dentist will only suggest it if you’re not a good candidate for either endosteal or subperiosteal implants.
Instead of the implant being adhered to your jawbone, it will go inside your cheekbone. A specialist dentist typically performs this procedure, as significant additional training is required.
Immediate Load Dental Implants
As the name suggests, immediate load dental implants allow for the placement of a temporary tooth the same day that you go in for your implant appointment.
You might be a good candidate for this option if you have plenty of jawbones and a stable fixture that can support the implant.
Mini Dental Implants
Mini dental implants are tiny, narrow implants that your dentist will use to stabilize lower dentures.
They can fit in areas that different implant sizes cannot. Like other implants, they work to support jawbone health, and your dentist will be able to complete the procedure in a single visit.
If you’ve lost a great number of teeth, your dentist may suggest all-on-4s. Four implants will be put inside your bone without the need for grafting.
The dentist can place the temporary teeth on the same day as they perform the implant. You’ll have to stick to a strict diet while you’re healing, but when it’s all said and done, you’ll have more confidence in your smile.
Titanium vs. Zirconia
When it comes to materials, you have two choices. Titanium has been around the longest. It’s durable and easy to work with.
Zirconia is durable, but at the end of the day, it’s still a ceramic material. This makes it more prone to breakage than titanium. Zirconia implants are also typically more expensive.
If you have a metal allergy, zirconia will be your only choice. If you have thin gums, titanium may show through, whereas zirconia won’t.
If you’re not a good candidate for implants, your dentist may suggest techniques that will make you a good candidate, starting with a sinus lift. It involves replacing any deteriorated bone that once existed below the sinus.
If your jawbone isn’t wide enough for implants, your dentist can use a ridge expansion procedure to add more space.
Those with a weak jawbone can benefit from bone augmentation. Your dentist will use bone additives to fortify the structure.
While all of these techniques will add a few thousand dollars to your bill, they’ll greatly increase your range of treatment options. Again, a specialist dentist typically performs this procedure, as it often requires dedicated surgical facilities.
Selecting Dental Implants That Are Right for You
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when selecting dental implants. There are so many different types and procedures to choose from.
While endosteal titanium implants are the most common, not everyone is a good candidate for them. If you don’t have a strong jawbone structure and you are allergic to metal, you may have to go with subperiosteal zirconia implants.
If you’re still on the fence, we can help you make your decision with an x-ray. Contact us to set up an appointment today.