Your oral health is important, and tooth loss can negatively affect both your appearance and functionality. Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth, as they look and function like natural teeth. Most dental implants are made of titanium, a strong and biocompatible metal. Once the implant is placed in your jawbone, it will fuse with the bone over time.
This process, known as osseointegration, ensures that your implant is securely in place.
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2 Types of Dental Implants
Endosteal implants are placed directly in the bone. This type is usually used for people who have removable dentures or bridgework. It’s also an option for people with enough bone to support the implant but failing teeth that need to be extracted. Once the area has healed, usually after three to six months, a small connector post – called an abutment – is placed on top of the implant.
Subperiosteal implants are placed on top of the bone under the gum tissue. These types are often used for people who wear dentures and want to stabilize them. They are an alternative for those who lack sufficient bone height for endosteal implants.
Both types of implants require two surgical procedures. The first procedure is to place the implant in the jawbone and the second is to attach the abutment or post to the implant. After the area has healed, you’ll need to see your dentist to have a tooth made to fit on top of the abutment or post.
Alternative Dental Implant Techniques
While traditional dental implants are the most common type, alternatives are available. If you have slight bone loss or your jawbone isn’t strong enough to support a regular implant, you may be a candidate for one of these alternative techniques:
1. Bone Augmentation
This technique is also called bone grafting. It’s usually done before implant surgery and involves using bone from another part of your body or from a donor to build up the jawbone so it can support an implant. This technique is also called bone grafting. It’s usually done before implant surgery and involves using bone from another part of your body or from a donor to build up the jawbone so it can support an implant.
2. Sinus Lift
If you’re missing teeth in your upper jaw, the sinuses may have expanded into that area. A sinus lift technique moves these sinuses back and adds bone to the upper jaw so it can support dental implants.
3. Ridge Expansion
This procedure is used when there is not enough bone in the upper jaw to support dental implants. The surgeon cuts the jawbone and inserts metal plates to widen the bone gradually. This gives the jawbone more room to grow to support dental implants.
These alternative implant techniques are usually done by an oral surgeon or a periodontist, a dentist specializing in gum disease, and dental implants.
Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth, and several different types and techniques are available. If you’re considering dental implants, talk to your dentist about which type is best for you. They will help you choose the implant with the best chance of success and provide instructions on how to care for your implant post-surgery.