Understanding Dental Implant Options

Dental implants are used to replace missing natural teeth. They offer a long-term solution to restoring bite patterns and allowing patients to regain normal use of their mouths. Today’s implant placement procedures are much quicker and more predictable than those of earlier years, helping patients heal faster and saving both those receiving the implants and […]

Dental implants are used to replace missing natural teeth. They offer a long-term solution to restoring bite patterns and allowing patients to regain normal use of their mouths. Today’s implant placement procedures are much quicker and more predictable than those of earlier years, helping patients heal faster and saving both those receiving the implants and the specialists placing them time and money.

Understanding Options

The first question a dental implant specialist will have to answer before helping his or her patient choose an implant type is whether the patient has enough natural jawbone to support traditional implants. These implants, known as endosteal dental implants, are placed directly into the jawbone, while subperiosteal implants sit beneath the gum line but above the jawbone. Those who have been missing teeth for some time and have begun to lose bone mass may also have the option of undergoing a procedure to rebuild bone in order to provide a sturdy enough foundation for implants.

Bone Restoration

There are three types of techniques used to rebuild a patient’s jawbone so that it can support implants. Bone augmentation utilizes additives and growth factors to fortify a patient’s natural bone, while sinus lifts actually add more bone below the sinus. Ridge expansion may be necessary for patients whose jaws aren’t wide enough to support traditional implants as well and involves grafting bone to a small ridge created along the patient’s jaw.

Additional Options

Patients who are missing multiple teeth may be interested in learning about a few other types of dental implants. All-on-4® implants involve the placement of four implant screws in a patient’s upper or lower jaw, which are then permanently attached to full dentures to offer better stability to patients who are missing an entire arch. Mini dental implants can also be used to stabilize lower dentures and, since they are smaller, require a less-invasive placement technique.

Learn More About Options Today

The technologies and procedures described above constitute some of the most popular options available to today’s dental patients. Interested in learning more? Readers can get more information about dental implant types and tooth replacement options online or by scheduling a consultation with a local implant specialist.