Understanding The Dental Implant Anatomy
If you’ve lost one or more teeth, you might be too self-conscious to smile or talk to people. The loss of teeth can dramatically affect your quality of life, making you want to avoid social company and events. Most of the traditional teeth replacement options, such as partial or complete dentures, can’t replace the actual functionality of natural teeth. But dental implants can replace the root structures of your missing teeth, allowing you to eat whatever you want, speak comfortably, and do whatever you can with natural teeth.
When it comes to dental implants, you have several options to consider. There are different types of dental implants, different materials for dental implants, and different types of implant restorations. The dental implant is a titanium or ceramic screw drilled into the jawbone underneath the empty socket of a missing tooth. Once the dental implant is placed, it fuses with your surrounding jawbone tissues, following which an abutment is attached, followed by the visible part of the dental anatomy — the dental prosthetic.
Dental implants look, feel, and function like natural teeth, so they’re often called the ideal replacements for missing teeth. But which type of dental implant is ideal for you? Below, we highlight the different types of dental implants, materials, and restorations.
Types of Dental Implants
Endosteal (Endosseous) Implants
Endosteal implants are the most common types of implants used. Endosteal implants are screw-like or cylindrical implants drilled into the jawbone underneath the empty socket of the missing teeth. They replace the root structure of the missing, offering a completely stable and strong base for the prosthetics. However, endosteal implants can only be placed if the patient has enough jawbone tissues. If the patient’s jawbone ridge is narrow, the dental implant dentist may have to consider another option or perform a bone graft to stimulate bone regeneration.
Subperiosteal implants are rarely used in modern implantology. In the past, these types of dental implants were used to hold complete dentures in place, especially if the patient had insufficient jawbone tissues for endosteal implants. Subperiosteal implants are placed on the jawbone underneath the gum tissues — they’re not drilled into the jawbone. As such, subperiosteal implants don’t offer the same stability as natural teeth or endosteal implants. These days, if a patient has insufficient jawbone, the dentist may recommend a bone graft before the procedure instead of using subperiosteal implants.
Dental Implant Materials
Titanium is the most common material used for dental implants. It has a long track record as one of the safest, most durable, and most biocompatible materials for implants. Titanium implants are durable enough to restore complete bite force to your mouth, allowing you to eat whatever you want. There’s no risk of the titanium implant fracturing.
Zirconia (ceramic) is a more recent material used for dental implants, having only recently received FDA approval for the replacement of teeth. It’s too early to give a definite verdict on zirconia implants, but some reports suggest they’re not as strong and durable as titanium implants. They’re also not backed by decades of clinical research.
Types of Dental Implant Restoration
Dental Crowns (for Single Teeth)
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped and tooth-colored cap attached to an existing tooth or a dental implant. If you’re missing one tooth, the dentist can attach one dental crown to an implant, thus replacing the missing tooth. You can also get dental crowns if you’re missing a few teeth in different parts of your mouth. One implant-supported crown can only replace one tooth.
Dental Bridges (for Multiple Teeth)
A dental bridge is a row of several prosthetic teeth (pontics) supported by dental crowns on either side. If you’re missing several teeth in a row, your dental implant dentist can place two implants on either side of the missing row and then attach the dental bridge. An implant-supported bridge can replace several missing teeth with only two implants.
Dentures (for Complete Teeth)
A fixed denture is a complete arch of prosthetic teeth customized according to your jaw and gums. If you’re missing all of your teeth, an implant-retained denture can replace all of your missing teeth with a few strategically placed implants. The all-on-four technique allows dentists to replace all missing teeth with only four dental implants.
How to Choose the Best Dental Implants?
You don’t have to choose the best dental implants for yourself. You should instead rely on a reputable and experienced dental implant dentist. The dental implant specialist will carefully examine your teeth, perform numerous tests, use x-rays to examine the level of jawbone tissues, and curate a personalized dental implant treatment plan for you. Our dental implant dentists keep you informed through every stage of the process.
Dental Implant FAQs
What Are The Types Of Dental Implants? Why Are They Used?
Dental implants come in two types — endosteal or subperiosteal. Dental implants are used to replace the root structures of your missing teeth, thus offering a firm and stable base for the replacement teeth.
How Long Does It Take To Replace Teeth Using Dental Implants?
A typical dental implant process takes approximately 6 months. After the dental implant surgery, you may have to wait 6 months or more for the dental crown or bridge, depending on your unique condition. But in some cases, patients with optimal conditions can also receive same-day dental implants.
Can My Child Get Dental Implants?
Your child can get dental implants if they’re at least 15 (girls) or 17 (boys) years of age.
How Many Dental Implants Will Replace My Teeth?
The number of dental implants necessary to replace your teeth will depend on your specific needs and concerns. Please consult your tooth implant specialist for more information.
Contact A Tooth Implant Specialist Near Me
VIP Dental Implants is a state-of-the-art dental implant center led by a highly-skilled and experienced dental implant specialist in Houston. Our dental implant specialists curate personalized treatment plans after a thorough evaluation, ensuring safe, consistent, and reliable results. We have dental implant centers in Uptown Houston and Midtown Houston — please schedule a consultation with the tooth implant specialist near me in Houston.