Dental implants are a large portion of what the dental industry does for restorations – there are over 60 manufacturers of dental implants and materials used to perform them, such as crowns and abutments.
This gives dentists a large variety of options for their patients to find the one that best fits your needs.
Dentists will base their choice around your mouth and bone structure, their own experience, the quality, and the cost to specific brands.
Dental implants are mainly categorized in 3 ways: by the number of stages used to place them (one or two steps) or by their placement and shape.
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Different types of dental implants by placement
There are 2 kinds of placement for implants, which will depend on your bone strength.
1. Endosteal Implants (endosseous)
This is by far the most common type of dental implants. When dentists mention implants, they usually think of this type. These are surgically implanted into your jaw to fuse with the bone as an alternative to removable dentures or dental bridges that needs 2 adjacent teeth as anchors. They can in fact be either performed via a one or two stage procedure.
These implants come in several different forms, including:
2. Subperiosteal Implants
Subperiosteal implants are not commonly used. They consist of a metal framework that sits on top of the jawbone. They fit inside the gum tissue and the post comes out from the gums to hold the crown.
They are performed in one single procedure.
The advantage of this implant is that they work really well for people who may not have the bone quality or height needed for implants to be directly drilled into the jawbone and who can’t use bone grafting to increase the bone amount.
Classification by number of procedure stages or steps
1. Two-Stage Dental Implants
Most dentists will recommend a two-stage procedure for the health and success of the implant.
In the first stage, the titanium post is surgically placed into your bone so that it is tightly anchored to your bone right under your gum that is then stitched back up to protect the implant while the bone heals and fuses.
After you heal, the second stage is minor: cut the gum, uncover the implant and attach the abutment and temporary restoration or crown. Once the permanent crown is ready, your dentist will simply remove the temporary one and place the definitive one.
2. Single-Stage Implants
During that kind of surgery, the implant (post) and the healing abutment are put together during surgery. So basically, the post will protrude through the gum and will be exposed. (Remember, for two stage, the post was totally inside the jawbone and could heal without any stress or forces on it)
With this post being exposed trough the gum, there are some downsides as it is more vulnerable to external pressure and you must be extremely cautious when eating or when brushing your teeth because you can hit the post and hinder the osseointegration to occur, meaning the implant fusing to the bone.
After you are healed, the crown can then be placed without any surgery.
Single or 2 stage method ?
In fact, there is no clear-cut answer. Research truly doesn’t lean toward one or the other. It really depends on your bone density and height. Your dentist or oral surgeon will be able to tell you which they think will work better for you – and which they have had more success with.
3. Immediate Loading
In some cases, both the implant, and abutment with the crown can be placed during a single procedure. This is often called a one-day procedure or immediate loading. The implant is placed right after the extraction of the tooth (if necessary) and then the artifical tooth is placed shortly after. So you leave the dentist office with your new teeth right away.
In order to have this done, as you know by know, the key prerequesite is to have sufficient bone volume and density so that it can support this loading.
Classification by shape, surface, size
1. Types of Surface Treatments
Most dental implants are made from titanium, but the surface pattern can vary.
Whatever is used is key in the stability of the implant and how long it will last.
A porous surface enables more bone contact when compared to a smoother titanium surface. Other choices include: acid etched, grit blasted (rough), plasma sprayed hydroxyapatite coating, and plasma sprayed or microgroove titanium. (That is a bit technical. Simply remember there are several surfaces that your dentist will choose from depending on your case)
Dental implants may also be classified by their head form or shape as well. The abutment and the restoration are attached to the implant with one of the following connector types:
- Internal Hex Connector: These are hexagonal in shape and are an opening that the dentist screws the restoration or abutment into.
- External Hex Connector: Hexagonal connectors that can be found on top of the dental implant.
- Internal Octa Connector: Octagonal shaped connect where the opening in the dental implant head is where the dentist screws in the abutment or restoration.
Dentists also use different sizes of implants, depending on the area where they will be inserted in the jawbone. This is a highly individualized approach, depending on the person’s tooth spacing and bone availability.
- Standard Platform Implant: Diameter ranging from 3.5mm-4.5mm; they are usually placed in the front of the mouth.
- Wide Platform Implant: Diameter ranging from 4.5mm to 6mm; they are often used to replace molars.
- Mini Implants : Diameter ranging from 3.0mm-3.5mm. they are used where there isn’t a lot of space between the roots of the teeth for normal sized implants. These may also be used when there isn’t enough bone density.
- Narrow Implants: Diameter ranging from 1.7mm-3.0mm; they are even smaller than the previous ones for cases requiring even smaller implants.
|Classification by size|
|wide||4.5mm-6.0mm||13.0mm - 15.0mm|
|Standard||3.5mm – 4.5mm||12.0mm – 15.0mm|
|Mini implants||3.0mm – 3.5mm||8.0mm – 12.0mm|
|Narrow||1.7mm – 3.0mm||5.0mm – 9mm|
Dental Professionals Who place the implants
Oral surgeons and periodontists as well as general dentists are trained and educated on the implant process.
There is a great deal of training and education that goes into having the ability to do such a surgery, and there is usually some sort of course to keep up with the training as well.
For those who want to receive the accreditation to perform the surgery, the crown, implant, and surgery lessons and training provided by private organizations do not take all that long.
Some of the recognized organizations that provide more extensive training include: the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the American Academy of Periodontology. So if your dentist is accredited by some of these associations, you know it is a good choice for you.
I know it can sound a bit obvious, but we want to remind you that when you are considering implant surgery, you really need to choose a dentist who is perfectly trained to place implants. So don’t be afraid to ask some questions to make sure that you are picking the right person who has all of the necessary training. Have a look at our check list to find a good dentist here.
You should also note that dentists are not required to have any special licensing to perform a dental implant surgery. That is why you need to dig down deeper to make sure your dentist is a good one you can trust.