With so many different types of cosmetic restoration procedures available today, choosing one can be quite the challenge. Currently, one of the most popular restorative procedures are dental implants. Dental implants have become increasingly popular as a result of their strength, aesthetics, and high rates of treatment satisfaction. But, how do you know if dental implants are the best cosmetic dental treatment for you? Before committing to dental implants, your implant dentist wants you to know these three things:
#1: Not All Dental Implants are the Same
While most people are familiar with one type of dental implant, there are actually two types of dental implants. Endosteal implants are the most common type that many people know about. This type of implant is made up of an implant screw that is implanted into the jawbone, an abutment (connector), and the dental prosthesis. In addition to the endosteal implant, there are also subperiosteal dental implants. Unlike endosteal implants, subperiosteal implants are not implanted into the jawbone, rather they are a metal framework that sits on top of the jawbone, under the gums.
In addition to dental implants having different types, they also have different sizes. Endosteal implants are available in three different sizes: standard, wide, and mini. In most cases, standard implants are used. However, in cases where an implant is being placed towards the back of the mouth, a wide implant may be used. Wide implants have a slightly larger circumference than standard implants and can provide additional support. Conversely, mini dental implants, known as MDIs or narrow dental implants, are used when there is not enough space or bone mass to accommodate a larger implant. To learn more, see “Types of Dental Implants”.
#2: Dental Implants Require Dental Surgery
A minor surgical procedure is used to place dental implants into the jawbone. Before having dental implants placed, your dentist will perform a dental exam, dental x-rays, and a CBCT scan to determine if dental implants will work for you. They will then discuss the proposed treatment plan with you and answer any questions you may have.
You will be sedated and anesthetized for the comfortable placement of your implants. If dental implants are restoring decayed or damaged teeth, these will need to be extracted before the implants can be placed. To start the implant placement procedure, a tiny incision will be made in your gums. Once the jawbone is visible, the tooth socket will be shaped accordingly and the implant screw will be placed with the abutment attached. The gums are then sutured around the abutment so that it is visible above the gum line. Finally, a temporary dental prosthesis is attached.
#3: Dental Implants Require a Commitment
The recovery process for dental implants is longer than other restoration methods. Dental implants derive their strength from fusing with the jawbone, which takes about 3-6 months. During this time, patients must adhere to post-operative guidelines set forth by their dentist. In cases where patients do not follow these guidelines, the rate of complications is higher. Generally speaking, these guidelines consist of eating soft foods, keeping the treatment site clean, and practicing good oral hygiene.
Knowing the different types of dental implants, how they are placed, and what the recovery from dental implants is like are essential things to know when considering whether or not to have dental implants placed. Although dental implants are one of the most popular restorative methods, they also require more of the patient than other restoration methods. Ultimately, your implant dentist wants you to consider these three things to make sure dental implants are right for you.
Dr. Gerard J. Lemongello Jr. graduated from the University of Florida College of Dentistry and has been in private practice since 1987. His focus is on cosmetic and comprehensive restorative rehabilitative dentistry. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association and Academy of General Dentistry, and is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.