Types of Dental Implants

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There are three main different types of dental implant:  a root form implant, a plate form implant, and a subperiosteal implant.  All are made of titanium because of its bone fusing properties, but they differ in shape according to their various purposes.

Root form implants

The most common form of implant is a root form implant. These are shaped like a cylinder or screw, similar to the shape of the natural root of a tooth. They are the type of implant that most resembles a natural tooth root. The roughened surface area is engineered for premium attachment to the bone. Generally root form implants are placed when there is no problem with the amount of bone available, and the width and depth of jawbone is enough to allow the 1:1 ratio of crown height to implant depth. Root form implants can support single teeth or a whole arch of teeth – with a wide and deep jawbone the options are increased. They have a standard fitting procedure where the implant is set into the bone and the gum is stitched; after the osseointergration process the implant is uncovered and an extension can be attached. The implants with the abutment on top are then ready for a replacement tooth to be installed. If there is not enough bone or the bone is not of high enough quality root form implants can still be placed but you may need bone grafting surgery first to increase the space for the implant.

Blade or Plate form implants

If the bone is too narrow for a root form implant and the area where the implant is needed is not suitable for bone grafting a plate form implant can be used. The plate form implant is not the usual tooth root shape; it is flat and long so that it can slide into a narrow jawbone. Some plate form implants do not require the usual osseointegration time needed for root form implants, and can be designed to be suitable for immediate restoration implants.

Subperiosteal implants

Some people may not have enough bone either for a root form implant or a plate form implant. This can happen when the jaw bone has dissolved so far that there is just not enough width or height to put an implant into. In these cases a subperiosteal implant might be used. A subperiosteal implant has been designed to go on top of the bone, underneath the gum. With subperiostal implants the procedure is slightly different. One method is called the “dual surgery” method. After a local anaesthetic your dentist will cut into the gum and expose the jawbone. An impression is then taken of the bone with dental putty. This impression or mould is sent off to a dental laboratory. The technicians there are able to create a custom designed implant which will fit exactly between your gum and your jaw bone. A second surgical session is then needed to fit the implant and place the false teeth. If you are having your subperiostal dental implant fitted with “single surgery” method surgery you will not need the first stage where the dentist lifts your gum and makes a mould of your bone. Instead you can have a CAT scan of your jawbone. A model of your jawbone is made and a dental laboratory creates the subperiostal implant. The implant is then placed and the gum is closed up with stitches and the false tooth placed.

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Guide to Dental Implants in London & the UK