It is extremely important to replace the missing teeth and there are several ways in which missing teeth can be replaced. One of the most popular options for replacement of missing teeth is dental implants. In simple terms, these may be defined as metal frame or posts that is surgically inserted into the jawbone and acts as a foundation for dentists to mount replacement teeth on these posts.
The dental implants work by fusing with the jawbone and by providing excellent support for artificial teeth on the top. The bridges and dentures mounted on these implants don’t shift or slip in the mouth which means these implants act as real teeth. You will have absolutely no issues while eating or speaking.
The secure fit offered by implants not only helps bridges and dentures but also the individual crowns that are placed over them. These implants feel much more natural as compared to conventional dentures or bridges.
Dental Implant Types
There are many different dental implant types. They can be categorised in many ways, including by size, shape, material, stage as well as manufacturer among other things. However, one of the most well recognised types is the one considered by the American Dental Association.
The two primary dental implant types; endosteal implants and subperiosteal implants:
Endosteal implants – this type of implant is surgically implanted directly onto the jawbone and a second surgery is needed for connecting a post to the original implant once the gum tissue has healed. In the final stage, an artificial tooth is attached to this post on an individual basis or as a group on a bridge.
Subperiosteal implants – this type of dental implant consists of a metal frame that fits directly onto the jawbone below the gum tissue. This frame gets fixed to the jawbone when the gums heal. The posts attach to the frame through the gums on which the artificial teeth are mounted.
Dental implant stages
Another categorisation of dental implant type is based on stages. There is a two-stage process and single stage process.
Two stage process – this begins with surgery. In this process, the screw is placed in the jawbone and in this process, it is screwed all the way down to make sure that the top of the screw sits flush with the surface of the jawbone.
Once the gum tissue has fully healed (it typically takes several months), a minor surgery is again performed by the dentist. At the end of the surgery, the abutment is attached to the post and after a short healing period, the job is completed.
Single stage process – this was designed to avoid multiple surgeries. In this process, a longer implant is placed directly on the jawbone with top extending over the bone. At the end of the surgery, the head of the screw is still visible once the soft gum tissue has healed. Once the healing is completed, a second surgery is not needed as the abutment can be directly attached to the top that has been extending over the jawbone.
Both these types have similar rate of success and the decision for a type is taken by the dentist based on the past experience as well as comfort level.
Dental implant connection types
Another way to categorise dental implants is by their connection type. While the implants have been used for many decades, manufacturers have offered several different connection types based on their own reasoning.
Some of the major types of connections include internal hex connectors, external hex connectors as well as internal octagon connectors. The advantage of internal hex connectors is that it offers a much more natural appearance as the interior mechanism forces it deeper into the connection. Also, it is a bit more stable as compared to the other connectors.
The internal octagon connectors are very popular these days as these are considered the best choice for getting rid of the adverse effects of force distribution on the implants and the prosthetic. This structure is regarded by dentists as the best way to reduce fatigue over a longer period.
Types of dental implant materials
There are several things a dentist needs to consider while choosing a type of dental implant. The dentist not only needs to consider the functionality of the implant but also the aesthetics. For instance, the front teeth are extremely important in terms of aesthetics, but these do not play a major role in the chewing and eating process.
On the other hand, the premolars and molars may not be aesthetically important but are extremely important when it comes to chewing and eating. Therefore, the dentist must consider the angle, colour as well as material to be used for a tooth that is aesthetically important. Dental implants are usually made of titanium as it is a very strong and stable material and one of the biggest advantages is that it binds biologically to the bone whereas jawbone may reject other metals or alloys.
In addition to titanium, zirconium is also used by dentists for creating implants as well as restorative components. zirconium offers best aesthetic results as the implant components are completely white in colour and no one can see the metal through the ceramic tooth. Zirconium has been used for manufacturing dental implants for a number of years, but it is also important to consider that zirconium is expensive when compared to titanium.
Overall, these are the major ways in which dental implants can be categorised. The choice for an implant depends on the placement as well as comfort level of the dentist.