If you’ve lost one or more teeth, a dentist may recommend that you get dental implants. But what exactly are dental implants? Below you’ll find a brief, but informative, overview of implants so you understand what they are.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are an option for replacing missing teeth. They are called implants because they are actually implanted under your gums (often directly into the jawbone). They are usually made out of titanium or zirconium. This metal will eventually fuse with your jawbone making implants a relatively permanent option for replacing missing teeth.
In addition to the implant, there are a few other components involved. One is the abutment. This is a metal piece that is attached to the implant itself. The abutment is the part that will connect the implant to the last piece of the puzzle… the replacement tooth. This may be a crown or denture that is the part that looks like a real tooth and is the only part that people will be able to see.
There are two main types of dental implants you may run across. The first is a subperiosteal implant. This kind of implant actually isn’t implanted into the jawbone. Instead they are placed on top of the jawbone (yet still under the gums). Subperiosteal implants are usually used in cases where someone’s jawbone is too shallow or is not able to support a regular implant for some reason. These implants have a post or bar that will stick up through the gums to which the replacement tooth (or teeth) are attached.
The other kind of implant is an endosteal implant. They’re the most common type of implants used these days. These implants are the kind that are actually implanted into the jawbone and, eventually, will fuse with the jawbone. They take a few different forms – screws, cylinders, or plates. Which one is used depends on the quality of the jawbone and the amount of jawbone.
Endosteal implants are inserted during a surgical procedure. Once a patient has ample time to hear from the surgery, the dentist will then attach the abutment and the permanent replacement tooth or teeth.
So there you have it. A very brief introduction to what dental implants are and the different types of implants available. For more details about implants, check out our other implant articles that cover topics such as their cost, All on 4 implants, and more.