In the past, missing teeth meant having a gap or dealing with uncomfortable and fake-looking dentures. But now, you can choose from many types of dental implants to help you look and feel amazing.
In fact, the only downside is that there are too many choices, whether you’re looking for dental implants in Sandy, UT, or major metropolises like Atlanta, GA! Deciding which kind of implant is right for you starts with understanding your options, and this short guide will help you learn what’s available in the dental field.
Before we dig into the types of implants in the dentistry world, let’s start at the bottom and ensure you understand these small products. Many people confuse an implant with a false tooth. However, these are two different parts of your dental care journey.
An implant mimics the function of a natural tooth root: holding the crown (the visible part of the tooth we see) in place. It’s usually created from titanium — one of the strongest, safest materials the body can adapt to.
Titanium is even stronger than bone! In some cases, your dentist may suggest implants made from other materials, such as stainless steel or zirconia, which also work well.
These tooth-shaped implants are designed to match your missing or damaged tooth, covering up the space to fit snugly into the bone under your gum. This allows them to act like a tooth root and hold the crown in place through all your normal chewing and speaking activities.
Various Types of Implants
Although the crown is the part of the tooth we usually focus on, since it becomes part of our visible smile, the type of implant used is just as important.
In the average dental practice, you’ll see three kinds of implants: endosteal (the most commonly used), subperiosteal, and zygomatic (the least frequently used).
Endosteal implants, being the least complex and easiest to fuse, are the go-to type. They’re shaped like screws and act like a post inserted into the bone under the gum, awaiting the crown to be inserted over the top. The only downside of these implants is that the patient must have a healthy jawbone to hold the screw. The bone will gradually fuse with the post and hold the implant in place, at which time the false tooth will be set atop the post.
When the jawbone isn’t healthy enough to hold a post, subperiosteal implants are used instead. These rest slightly under the gum but on top of the bone and are held in place with a metal frame. The frame has a post attached that will secure the false tooth once the gum heals around the metal.
The final option is a zygomatic implant. This alternative is rarely used, as it is very complex. Dentists recommend zygomatic implants when the patient doesn’t have enough jawbone to hold a post. The implant is then placed in the cheekbone, and the false tooth is adjusted in place from there.
Your dentist will discuss the pros and cons of each option with you. Whichever procedure you choose, remember that the short-term discomfort and disruption to your schedule will fade, while you’ll enjoy the benefits of having a healthy, beautiful smile for years to come.