What Are Dental Implants?

By: Spirit Dental
April 5, 2018

Senior woman gardening

Dental implants are a popular option for restoring your smile when you lose one or more teeth for any reason. As one of modern dentistry’s greatest innovations, more and more patients are opting to go with dental implants instead of bridgework or dentures.

A lot of people don’t realize that there are actually different types of dental implants available. What are they, and what are the benefits associated with each? We break it all down for you below so you can make the most informed decision—with the help of your dentist, of course!

Endosteal Implants: The Most Common Type

Endosteal implants, which are shaped like a small cylinder or screw, are the most common type of dental implant. This is the type of dental implant that is surgically placed right into your jawbone. Okay, we know it might sound pretty intense, but this is what will allow your implant to remain stable for years to come, and it is also what makes dental implants function just like your real teeth.

After this implant has been put into your jawbone, the gum tissue that surrounds it is allowed to heal. The next step would require that you head back to the dentist’s office to have another procedure, during which a post will be connected to the endosteal implant. After that, you would go through the final stage of the dental implant process and have an artificial tooth attached to the post. At that point, you’re done and you’ll have a brand new tooth that matches the rest of your teeth perfectly. Not too bad, right?

Subperiosteal Implants: No Drilling into the Jaw Required

Another option that your dentist may recommend if you are in need of a dental implant is the subperiosteal implant. Patients who have been diagnosed with a shallow jawbone that wouldn’t allow for a traditional implant could take this route. Also, if you need to rebuild your jawbone but you don’t want to go through the process or your dentist deems that you can’t go through the procedure, a subperiosteal implant might be a viable option.

With a subperiosteal implant, the end result is the same as with an endosteal implant, but the procedure differs a bit because there isn’t any drilling into your jawbone. Instead, a metal frame is placed below your gums and onto or above your jawbone. The frame, which has small metal posts attached to it, will become securely fixed to your jawbone as your gums heal, and the posts will come up through your gums so that artificial teeth can then be mounted to them.

Mini Implants: Exactly What They Sound Like

Yet another option in the world of dental implants is the mini implant. This is the same as any regular implant, except it’s smaller. To put things into perspective, a mini implant will be 1.8 to 3.3 mm wide. A standard dental implant, on the other hand, will be 3.4 to 5.8 mm wide.   

Because a mini dental implant is smaller, your dentist might recommend this option if there isn’t enough space in your mouth for a regular implant. Also, if your dentist has determined that you don’t have enough bone mass within your jaw to support a regular implant, a mini implant might be the ideal alternative. And, compared to traditional implants, it might even require fewer appointments to have your mini implant placed, so that’s also a plus for some patients.   

Get Help with Covering the Cost of Dental Implants!

Dental implants are fabulous, but they do come at a hefty price. So, if you’re thinking about replacing one or more of your teeth with implants, check out the Spirit dental plans that are available, as they could help you cover the costs of rebuilding your lovely smile.

Regardless of which type you choose, dental implants are one of the best ways to replace missing teeth. If you’re seeking a treatment option that will give you the ability to speak and chew like you would with natural teeth, and if you want a long-term solution that can restore your confidence in the way your mouth looks, this is it.


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