If you lose a tooth or teeth, modern orthodontics can help you have them replaced. However, if there is not enough tooth for a crown or bridge to attach to, a dental implant will be used. Dental implants are used to provide a base for eventual tooth replacement. There are several types of implants and the differences pertain to where the implants are placed, how many teeth they are replacing, and the shape and material of the implants being installed.
Placement Makes a Difference
There are two places a dental implant are normally placed. A subperiosteal is attached on top of the bone when the jawbone is not able to support the implant, or if the recipient foes not want the surgery needed to build up the jawbone. An endosteal implant is more common and is screwed into the jawbone or supported with a plate attached to the bone.
How Many Teeth are Being Replaced?
If only one tooth is being replaced, the implant is usually a small peg that will support the crown. A temporary crown is attached to give the jawbone time to heal and become accustomed to the implant. If multiple teeth are being replaced, multiple pegs are used and a fixed bridge is then anchored to them.
Once the implants are installed, a temporary bridge is placed to allow the jaw to heal before a permanent bridge is attached. In the most invasive procedure, the entire front arch is replaced. These are all of the visible front teeth on top, bottom, or both.
Implant Shape and Construction
Implants are made of titanium or titanium alloy. Pure titanium is used with medical implants because it is non-reactive and bone readily bonds with it. Various alloys are used, with titanium-nickel being the most common. T-N alloy does not bond as well but it will bend and flex more readily. Implants are often shaped like a straight screw with a slight taper at the end. This implant uses a smaller hole and a better grip than implants used in the past.
Dental implants are one of the best advances to be made in oral surgery. With the right implants and crowns or bridges, people who have lost their teeth are able to have new ones installed that function just as well as the old ones. While more expensive than false teeth, implants are also longer lasting and with proper care, never need to be replaced.