There are three main types of implants:
•The root implant
•The plate form implant
•The subperiosteal implant
The root implant—by far, the most popular—is the most effective because it mirrors the size and shape of a patient’s natural tooth. This implant is often as strong as the patient’s original tooth. The implant or artificial root is placed into the jawbone under local anesthesia, then allowed to heal and integrate with the bone. Once the healing process is completed and the jawbone is attached to the implant, the patient returns to the dental office where the implant is fitted with the new tooth. This process generally takes anywhere from three to eight months.
The plate form implant is ideal in situations where the jawbone is not wide enough to properly support a root implant. The plate form implant is long and thin, unlike the root implant, and anchors into thin jawbones. It is inserted the same way as a root implant. In certain cases, the plate form implant is immediately fitted with the restoration without waiting for the healing process to run its course.
The subperiosteal implant is used when the jawbone has receded to the point where it can no longer support a permanent implant.
What Exactly Does Dental Implant Involve?
First, you will need to discuss your options with your dentist. Together, it will be decided if you are a good candidate for dental implants. The dentist will take a complete dental history, x-rays, and complete a thorough oral examination. If you are a candidate for implant surgery, the procedure is as follows:
•Surgical placement of the implant(s) into the bone. This is usually done right in the dentists office, with a local anesthetic. After surgery, there is a healing period of approximately four months. During this time, the implants fuse to the bone by a process known as osseointegration.
•Next, there is a minor surgical exposure of the top of the implant, whereby the dentist will attach the post to the implant. The function of the post is to become the support for either one tooth or a set of teeth. This is a short procedure that usually requires only local anesthesia.
•The last phase is the restorative phase. The dentist will take impressions and then make a prosthesis that will attach to the implants. This will require several visits. Once completed, your mouth will be restored to natural looking, strong teeth.