Contrary to what many people believe, dental implants are more than just a way to replace a single tooth. In fact, dental implant technology is transforming various tooth replacement solutions and there are several different types of dental implants that are making this possible.
Here’s what you need to know about the different types of dental implants and what they mean for your smile.
Before we talk about the different types of dental implants, it is important to understand exactly how the technique works. There are a variety of misconceptions about what dental implants are and what makes them superior to other alternatives. The answer lies in a tiny piece of metal – a titanium post. When you lose a tooth, you also lose the root of that tooth. Most traditional tooth replacement solutions only focus on replacing the visible part of the tooth – which is usually made from a porcelain crown. However, this means that they rely on either adhesive (as is the case of dentures) or other natural teeth (as is seen in bridges) to support them. Neither option offers a great amount of stability, and bridges can place your natural teeth under a great deal of strain. However, dental implants actually replace the natural tooth root with a titanium post.
Titanium is biocompatible, meaning that it is unlikely that your body will try and reject it. The post is inserted into the bone of the jaw, at a location that has been pre-determined depending on the type of implants that you are getting. The placement is done via an incision in the gums and a hole drilled into the jaw. Bone is a live substance, meaning that once the implant post has been placed, the bone will heal around it to secure it permanently in place. This process, called osseointegration, is integral to the success of implants and takes a number of months. Patients are fitted with temporary crowns that are attached to the implant posts, and once osseointegration is complete, your final, bespoke crowns which have glazed to match your existing teeth, can be placed and the treatment concluded.
The most well-known type of implant, they are used to replace single missing teeth. They have a single titanium post and an artificial tooth that is created specifically to replace the one that you are missing. The bespoke design means that it is the right shape, size, and color to blend in seamlessly with the rest of your smile, ensuring that your restoration is completely discreet. Single dental implants can be placed virtually anywhere in the mouth.
A bridge is a popular dental device that contains a number of prosthetic teeth all attached together. A conventional bridge has an artificial tooth with crowns on either side that are attached to neighboring healthy teeth. However, an implant-supported bridge ensures that the whole device is placed onto several implant posts instead. This gives the restoration added strength and stability and means that there is no stress placed onto your healthy teeth.
If you are missing most or all of your teeth in one of your dental arches, you may be recommended to consider implant-supported dentures. These utilize the design of regular dentures design but place the device onto dental implants rather than securing it with adhesive. A partial denture can be attached to just two or three implants, whilst a full arch can be placed onto anywhere between four and eight implant posts. By placing dentures onto permanently secured posts rather than using adhesive, the restoration is much more stable and discreet. You can also clean your denture more easily and have less worries about its fragility.
As we know, the process to receive implants can be protracted and require several or more different appointments. However, if you want a smile restoration in a hurry, there is another option. All-on-4 dental implants enable patients to receive a full arch of artificial teeth in just one day. This is made possible using cutting edge Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) technology, which is able to turn images of your mouth and teeth into a complete, permanent dental restoration in a single day. This is because your bespoke device is created while you are having implant posts placed in strategic locations that make it possible to not have to wait for osseointegration for the treatment to be successful. The locations of the posts are specially selected for the density and health of the bone, and the posts are angled which immediately makes them stronger. The entire process can be carried out in a single day, meaning that you don’t need to wait to start enjoying your smile.
With several different types of dental implant to choose from, you can be certain to find the perfect solution for your dental needs. To discuss your candidacy for a dental implant procedure, please get in touch with our team by calling our dental offices in Federal Way, WA today.