Dental Implant Basics
A dental implant is an artificial root that is “implanted” or affixed to your jaw to mount replacements for missing teeth. There are three types of dental implant: endosteal or endosseus (which is “in the bone”), subperiosteal (which is primarily on top of the bone, but below the gums) and transosteal (which is “through the bone”). What determines the type of implant you need to use?
Selecting Your Implant
Endosteal dental implants are the easiest and most commonly used form of implant. and are surgically implanted into the patient’s jaw. Often shaped and functioning like a screw, the implants are generally made of titanium, a very biocompatible material. For the majority of patients, this is the best option, even if bone grafting is necessary for the jaws to have the necessary strength.
When patients have minimal jaw bone to work with and do not want to use bone grafts, subperiosteal implants are an effective option. This procedure uses a metal frame mounted under the gum tissue to support implants. The framework rests on the jawbone. Posts attached to the framework are used to fasten the artificial teeth.
Transosteal implants can only be used with the lower jaw, the mandible. A plate is mounted to the bottom of the jaw that includes screws for attaching to the jaw and posts that go completely through the jaw. These posts are then used to mount the artificial teeth. Like the subperiosteal, this type of implant is seldom used, but may be the best option for clients with certain conditions or concerns.
Why Get An Implant?
Each type of implant procedure, however, is a practical alternative for patients who want solidly attached dentures or who simply find their existing dentures uncomfortable. Implants can mount dentures, oral appliances for sleep apnea, bridges and crowns. The Sacramento Dentistry Group prefers to use implants for restorations whenever possible. Snap-in dentures do not come loose and implant-mounted bridges do not require altering perfectly good teeth to install the bridge. Plus, implants help preserve the jawbone and slow the typical signs of aging.
To be a good candidate for dental implants, you should have good oral health and enough bone mass to ensure success. For patients with thin bone or bone that is too soft and unable to support implants, a bone graft may solve the problem. Some patients may require a sinus lift procedure if they do not have enough bone height on their upper jaw or if their sinuses are too close to the jaw. Smoking also increases the risk of implant failure, so if you do smoke, you should quit.
During your initial exam, the dentists at the Sacramento Dentistry Group carefully assess your needs so that you receive the best care possible during each step of the implantation process. Patients considering dental implants are encouraged to call our Sacramento dental clinic for a free consultation and exam to start you on the road to a comfortable and stable smile that “supports” your oral care goals!