The Different Types Of Dental Implants Some estimates place the number of dental implant procedures in the country at nearly 200,000 each year. These procedures cost patients and dentists close to $80 million annually. These figures are expected to grow as the population ages and more dentists become trained in oral surgery. Many factors differentiate one type of implant from the next. There are differences in size, shape and even materials. The clearest distinction between implants involves how the devices are placed in the mouth. There are four main types of dental implants currently available.

Endosseous implants are one of the most common types available. These implants simulate the natural root of one or more missing teeth. The implants look like long screws but can also be flat depending on the shape of the jaw. The procedure involves opening the gums and exposing the jawbone. A hole is drilled and an anchor is implanted in the bone. The gums and bone are allowed to heal around the anchor. A second procedure is performed later in order to insert a post into the anchor. The post protrudes above the gums and takes several weeks or months to heal fully so that it is secured in place. The final step is to attach crowns or bridges to the posts. This procedure is only for individuals with a strong jaw that is wide enough to accept the implants.

Subperiosteal dental implants are designed for individuals who do not have a bone structure that can withstand drilling or the stress of endosseous implants. These implants look like curved pieces of wire or a network of wires. The first part of this procedure involves taking a cast of the jaw though exploratory oral surgery or creating a digital pattern through computed tomography (CT) scans. The implant is constructed so that it follows the contours of the jaw exactly. The gums are opened to reveal the bone underneath. The implant is placed on top of the bone and under the gums. The gums are sutured shut and allowed to heal. The mounting posts for the crowns protrude from the implant into the mouth. The implant becomes fused to the bone during the healing process.

Transosteal dental implants are normally used when the lower jaw has become so brittle, damaged or otherwise compromised that it can no longer support the normal pressure from eating or other actions. A transosteal implant consists of a flat plate that contains between two and four posts protruding upward perpendicular to the plate. This procedure involves drilling a channel through the entire jaw from the lowest area up into the mouth and through the gums. The implant is passed through the channels with the plate resting on the lower edge of the jawbone. The posts can then support any type of crown or bridge after healing is completed.

Intramucosal implants are designed to provide permanent additional support for removable dentures. These implants are not seen as commonly as other types. The implants consist of several small metal pins that have wide knobs on the head. The implants are placed in an arching pattern in the mouth usually in two rows. The dentures that will be used have matching sockets built into the structure. This type of implant allows the use of removable dentures while protruding minimally into the mouth.

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