Types of Dental Implants

Did you know that there is more than one kind of dental implant? In fact, there are a variety of dental implants that can offer a range of treatment options. However, there is not always a clear definition of how implants are categorized. Most commonly, types of dental implants are categorized by their placement procedure, size, and the type of connector they use.

Types of Implants by Procedure:

Certain types of dental implants are defined by how they are placed into the mouth. These include endosteal, subperiosteal, all-on-four, and same day dental implants.

Endosteal:

These are the most commonly used type of implant and can also be referred to as “traditional dental implants”. Endosteal implants are composed of three main parts: the implant screw, the connector (abutment), and the dental prosthesis, or artificial tooth. To place an endosteal implant, a two-stage process is required. For this reason, they can also be referred to as “two-stage implants”.

Endosteal Implant

During the first procedure, the implant screw is embedded into the jaw bone. It is then left to undergo a period of osseointegration for approximately 3-6 months. Once the implant has fused with the jaw bone, a second procedure is performed to connect the abutment and temporary dental prosthesis. Once the final prosthesis has been fabricated, the permanent restoration can be placed.

Dental implant surgery with endosteal implants can be performed on those who have suffered bone and tooth loss. However, part of this dental implant treatment will need to include a bone graft to build up the amount of bone mass and ensure the implant is properly supported.

Subperiosteal:

This type of implant is not often used, but may be useful in certain situations. Unlike endosteal implants, subperiosteal implants are not placed in the jawbone. Instead, they are composed of a metal framework with protruding posts that sits on top of the jawbone just under the gums.

Subperiosteal Implant

Subperiosteal implants are also placed using a series of two procedures. During the first procedure, an incision is made in the gums to access the jawbone. A dental impression is taken of the bone where the framework will eventually be placed. This impression will be used to fabricate framework that will fit exactly with the bone. During the second procedure, the framework is placed onto the bone. In some cases, small screws may be used to provide extra stability. A temporary dental bridge will be placed until the gums heal and then a permanent restoration can be placed.

All on Four/Same Day:

All on four implants, also known as all-on-4 dental implant, use a series of four dental implants to anchor a denture for a full mouth restoration. Full mouth restorations stimulate parts of the jawbone with dental implant placement while also offering replacement teeth. In this way, they may be more suitable than a dental bridge in certain cases. While dental bridges are good for some cases, there are other cases where a dental bridge ends up exerting too much pressure on the adjacent teeth causing them to become damaged.

All-on-Four Implant

Most all-on-four implants are placed during a single procedure and can also be classified as same day or immediate load implants. During this procedure, a series of four endosteal implants are placed into the jawbone in a way that allows them to be able to withstand a certain level of force. Specialized abutments are also used to attach temporary teeth during the same procedure. However, the jawbone will still need to heal for about six months before the permanent restoration can be placed.

Same day implants can also be placed as individual implants. In these cases, the placement procedure is the same except only a single implant is placed. Although same day implants allow you to immediately have teeth after one procedure, they are usually only ideal for those who already have healthy teeth and adequate bone mass. For this reason, they may not be an ideal option for everyone.

Types of Implants by Size:

Implants can also be classified based on their size. Currently, dental implants come in three main sizes: standard, wide, and mini or narrow.

Standard Platform and Wide Platform Implants

The majority of dental implants are considered to be either standard platform or wide platform. Standard sized dental implants have a diameter from 3.5 mm to 4.2 mm and are usually used in implant procedures towards the front of the mouth. Wide platform implants are slightly wider in diameter and range from 4.5 mm to 6 mm. Because of their increased diameter, wide platform implants are commonly used to support a molar dental implant.

Mini or Narrow Implants

Mini dental implants, also known as MDIs or narrow implants, have a narrower diameter of about 2 mm to 3.5 mm. MDIs are commonly used in people who lack space between their tooth roots, do not have adequate bone mass to support a larger implant, or who require additional temporary support for a healing prosthesis.

MDIs are also constructed slightly differently than standard or wide platform implants. While both standard and wide platform implants are made up of three pieces, mini implants are a single piece. This piece screws into the jawbone on one side and has a rounded head on the other end for denture attachment.

Types of Implants by Connectors:

A final way that implants can be classified is by their connectors, or abutments. However, dentists are most likely to decide on the type of connector used depending on its mechanics, biology, and clinical utility. Mechanics refers to how all the pieces fit together. For implant success, all the components must fit together seamlessly to prevent damage or micromovements that could cause the implant to fail.

Dental implant with abutment pieces and dental crown

Another main consideration revolves around biology. Biological considerations deal with determining whether the materials are biocompatible. The majority of dental implants are made from titanium and some from zirconia, which are both extremely biocompatible. Another biological consideration is whether or not the connector can provide a seal against bacteria entering the implant.

Finally, your dentist will also consider clinical utility, which basically refers to how easy the connector is to place. Connectors that are easier to place will reduce the amount of force and trauma exerted on the implant and surrounding structures. This will maintain tissue stability, limit bone loss, and improve the overall aesthetics of the final product.

When placing your dental implant, Drs. Lerner and Lemongello will take all these factors into account to determine the type of connector to use for your treatment plan. Currently, there are three commonly used types of connectors: internal hex, external hex, and internal octagon.

Both internal hex and internal octagon connectors have openings in the implant itself that allow an abutment to “screw into” the implant. The shape of the opening will be either hexagonal or octagonal depending on the type. External hex connectors, on the other hand, have a hexagonal shaped connector that sits on top of the implant rather than inside it.

Considering having a dental implant placed? To get the smile you’ve always wanted quickly, easily, and beautifully with dental implants from Palm Beach, FL, schedule a consultation with Drs. Lerner and Lemongello today!

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