What are the Different Types of Dental Implants?

About Dental Implants

Missing teeth can cause all kinds of literal and figurative headaches. From jaw pain to difficulty eating and talking, even having just one missing tooth can affect not only your oral health but your appearance. Without a root, the rest of your teeth can shift, ultimately weakening the rest of your root structure and increasing your risks of additional tooth loss and serious oral health issues. 

Dental implants are titanium rods inserted into your gums and jawbone to act as artificial tooth roots. They provide support for a single artificial tooth like a crown or for several teeth like dentures or bridges. Implants are permanent, but your artificial teeth may be fixed or removable. Either way, with implants, your new teeth will look and function like natural teeth. 

The type of dental implant that’s best for you will be determined by your health history and existing jaw structure. There are two main types of dental implants and a few alternatives we’ll cover to help you get a sense of which type of dental implant may be right for you.

  1. Endosteal
  2. Subperiosteal
  3. Transosteal
  4. Mini
  5. All-In-One

Endosteal Dental Implants illustration

1. Endosteal Dental Implants

Endosteal (root form) implants are the most common type of dental implants. They resemble small screws and are implanted into your jawbone during an outpatient procedure. One endosteal implant can be attached to one or multiple false teeth.

Because endosteal implants are inserted into bone, they are only suitable for patients with a healthy jawbone for the implant to fuse to. After endosteal implants are inserted, as your jawbone heals it will grow around your implant(s). This growth anchors the implant securely to your jaw, even strengthening your overall bone structure and health of your teeth and gums.

During the implant procedure, A dentist will cut into your gum to expose your jawbone and make holes for the implants. Following surgery, while you wait for your implant to heal, you may choose to use temporary dentures until your permanent artificial teeth are ready.

It can take anywhere from six to 16 weeks (about 3-4 months) for your gums to heal completely, but the dental implant process altogether from initial consultation to receiving your dentures can take around nine months or more.

Subperiosteal Dental Implants Illustration

2. Subperiosteal Dental Implants

If you are unable to wear conventional dentures, don’t have enough healthy jawbone to support an endosteal implant, or you don’t like the idea of something in your jawbone, subperiosteal dental implants may be a good option for you. This type of dental implant is inserted into the gum but lies on top of the jawbone (rather than inserted into it) under a thin layer of tissue between the bone and gum.

The procedure for subperiosteal implants is also an outpatient procedure that requires anesthesia. As your gums heal, they affix to the metal frame of the implant. Like endosteal implants, posts are attached to the frame and your artificial teeth are placed on the posts.

Unlike endosteal implants, subperiosteal implants are custom-made to fit the unique contours of your jawbone. This requires an additional outpatient procedure to open the gum tissue and take an impression of your jawbone before the actual implant procedure. You will have local anesthesia for this procedure as well.

Because these are not inserted into your jawbone, subperiosteal implants do not require any bone grafting prior to the procedure and have a faster recovery period than endosteal implants.

Transosteal Dental Implants illustration

3. Transosteal Dental Implants

Transosteal implants (also known as mandibular staple) are only used on the lower jawbone and only if you don’t have the jawbone to support endosteal or subperiosteal implants. 

This type of implant requires an extensive procedure to attach a metal plate at the button of the jawbone. Posts are embedded in the gum tissue and an incision below the chin to affix the plate and attach your artificial teeth. Due to the complicated nature of the procedure, transosteal implants must be customized to your jawbone to ensure a proper fit.

Mini Dental Implants Illustration

4. Mini Dental Implants

Toothpick-sized mini implants (MDIs) are a smaller, minimally-invasive version of endosteal implants most often used to anchor a lower denture. The smaller sized implant means less cost and a shorter recovery period as well, sometimes as little as one day. Mini dental implants are also a more affordable option if you do not have a dental insurance that includes implants.

Because mini implants don’t require as much bone to attach to, this type of implant is a good option for patients with more severe jawbone loss. They’re also a good solution for replacing smaller teeth like incisors and premolars.  They are not recommended for patients who grind their teeth.

All-in-One Solution Illustration

5. All-in-One Solution

Also known as full mouth or All-On-4™ implants, our All-in-One Solution involves a minimally invasive procedure to place four dental implants to support a bridge called a full arch. They are used in the top and/or bottom of your jaw to replace a full set of top or bottom teeth.

The All-in-One Solution uses the available bone in your jaw and therefore does not require any bone grafting prior to surgery. Additionally, special abutments are used so that you can receive a set of temporary teeth the same day.

Like endosteal implants, your bone will grow around the implants to fuse them to your jaw. The healing period takes about six months, after which time your set of permanent teeth will be placed. While your gums heal, you’ll be required to adhere to a modified diet but can resume eating as normal once you have your permanent bridge.

Additional Considerations and Procedures

Whether you're receiving one implant or multiple, you may need additional procedures prior to your implant procedure. Jawbone health is paramount to implant success, and this is particularly crucial if you are considering dental implants for seniors. As time goes on, our bones begin to weaken and you need your jaw to be strong to protect the implant and withstand the pressure of chewing. If the amount of jawbone is not sufficient, your dentist can build a dental bone graft to replace it.

Bone Grafting

Bone grafting is a technique used to thicken the jawbone by taking bone from another part of the body and adding it to your jawbone. Synthetic bone may also be used. The healing time for a bone graft takes several months to a year and requires additional appointments — in addition to the several months’ process of dental implants. Your bone must heal before you receive your implants.

Sinus Augmentation

Sometimes missing upper back teeth will cause the bone below your sinus to deteriorate. Sinus augmentation, also called sinus elevation, is a procedure to restore this bone below your sinus.

Ridge Modification

Sometimes, the ridge of your mouth may be missing bone or not be wide enough to support dental implants. If this is the case, your dentist may recommend ridge modification to create a small space along the top of your jaw to build up the ridge. This is done through grafting as well.

You Deserve to Love Your Smile!

No matter the type of implant you have, you will enjoy a permanent solution to tooth loss. Dental implants are the best option for your continued oral health and they ensure your dentures, bridges, or crowns feel and function like natural teeth.

Ready to get started? Schedule an appointment with your local Affordable Dentures & Implants practice to speak with a specialist who can customize a tooth replacement solution for you and guide you through dental implants pricing.

We Believe Everyone Deserves to Love Their Smile

Schedule your free consultation today to learn more about an affordable, long lasting solution to tooth loss.

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