Types of Dental Implants

There are a variety of types of dental implants available as there are many different circumstances under which patients could require them. As well, no two patients' mouths are exactly the same. The majority of dental implants on the market today are constructed from an inert metal called titanium. Titanium has been found to work exceptionally well at connecting with live bone tissue in the mouth. The process where titanium fuses with existing bone is referred to as "osseointegration." Either a periodontist or an oral surgeon who works from the hospital or a private clinic usually undertakes dental implants.

Root form implants are "cylindrical or screw type implants" that greatly resemble the form of a root of a tooth with a surface area that makes for good adhesion to the existing bone. Root form implants are the most commonly used of all dental implants and there are positioned in a patient's mouth where the depth and width of the jawbone is the greatest. If the patient's jawbone is deemed either too short or too narrow for root form dental implants then sometimes bone grafting will need to be done before implants can be even considered an option for the patient. Some patients have jawbones that for one reason or another (such as a very narrow jawbone) make bone grafting impossible therefore an other option must be taken into consideration. This option is called plate form implants.

This narrow implant can be positioned directly into the existing bone. In other more extreme cases when there is a great deal of bone loss, another type of implant, known as the subperiosteal implant may be used. This type of dental implant is placed on top of the bone while still being under the patient's gums.

Another type of implant is an artificial bone substitute which is made of synthetic material land is positioned on top of the existing bone to do two important functions- first to help encourage the rebuilding and regrowth of the ridge that is shrinking and secondly to provide as much support as possible for the fitting of dentures. The material used in this kind of implant is very much like a person's natural bone therefore it easily affixes itself to the jawbone and begins to grow. An other form of dental implants, known as endosteal implants are placed directly into the patient's jawbone and take over the function of the root of the tooth. Root form implants are used in the case of deep, wide bone and their purpose is to provide a foundation for the replacement of one to a number of missing teeth. The shape of the plate form implant is both long and flat as it is designed to fit into the mouths of patients who have narrow jawbones.

Subperiosteal implants have two methods for placement in the mouth- the "dual surgery method involves an impression being taken of the bone and later the jawbone is exposed and the implant is put in place; the second is the "single surgery" method whereby a CAT scan is taken of a patient's jawbone and from that, a model of the jawbone is designed. There are four types of bone grafts. The first, autografts are taken from the patient's own body. The second grafts, allografts come from recently deceased human donors.

The third type, xenografts are taken from animals, most often cow (called bovine). The fourth type, alloplastic grafts are inert and are constructed from synthetic man made materials.

Gary Stephens runs an informational site on Dental Implants for all those interested in the process to find out valuable information on this increasingly popular procedure. For more information see Dental Implants

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