Discovering dental implants: what are they and what types exist

08 June聽路聽6 minutes

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on dental implants, a remarkable solution that has revolutionized the field of dental healthcare. If you're seeking to restore your smile, regain oral functionality, and improve your overall quality of life, you've come to the right place. In this blog, we will delve into dental implants, exploring their benefits, types, procedures, and everything else you need to know to make informed decisions about your oral health.

What are dental implants and the different types that exist?

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made primarily from titanium. These small posts are surgically attached to the jawbone, seamlessly fusing over time to provide a stable foundation for replacement teeth. The integration of dental implants ensures remarkable strength and durability. To achieve a natural appearance and optimal functionality, an abutment connects the dental implant to the replacement tooth. We will now delve into the different types of dental implants available.

Single tooth implant vs. multiple tooth implants

When it comes to dental implants, patients have options that cater to their specific needs, whether they require the replacement of a single tooth or multiple teeth. The versatility of dental implants allows for tailored solutions, ensuring both functional and aesthetic restoration. Whether you are missing a single tooth or several, understanding the differences between single-tooth implants and multiple-tooth implants is crucial in making informed decisions about your dental health.

Doctor pointing to dental implant placement in a tooth mold.

Single tooth implant

In situations where you require the replacement of a single tooth, your dentist will typically recommend a single-tooth implant procedure. This involves the placement of a dental implant to serve as an artificial tooth root, followed by the attachment of a single replacement tooth or crown. By customizing the solution to your specific needs, this approach offers a targeted and effective solution to restore the function and aesthetics of your smile.

Full-mouth dental implants

In cases where a patient is missing all of their teeth, a full-mouth dental implant or full-arch procedure, may be recommended by their dentist. This comprehensive approach involves the placement of multiple dental implants throughout the jawbone to support a full set of replacement teeth. By recreating a full-arch, full-mouth dental implants offer remarkable functional and aesthetic benefits, providing patients with the ability to bite, chew, and speak naturally while restoring their smile's natural appearance.

Multiple tooth implant

In instances where several teeth are missing, a multiple-tooth implant procedure may be recommended by your dentist. This approach involves the strategic placement of teeth implants to support custom-made replacement teeth, specifically designed to fit seamlessly with your existing natural teeth. Multiple-tooth implants provide a functional and aesthetic solution, allowing you to regain the ability to bite, chew, and speak comfortably while restoring the appearance of a complete and harmonious smile.

Common types of dental implants

When it comes to dental implants, there are several basic types that cater to different needs and situations. Understanding the fundamental types of teeth implants is essential in exploring the options available for restoring your smile and oral functionality. We will provide an overview of the main types of dental implants, including endosteal implants, subperiosteal implants, and zygomatic implants. By familiarizing yourself with these different implant types, you can gain valuable insights into the possibilities and potential benefits that each one offers.

Endosteal implant

The most prevalent and widely used type of dental implant is known as the endosteal implant. Resembling a small screw, cylinder, or blade, this implant is placed directly into the jawbone and acts as a stable anchor for one or more replacement teeth, also referred to as prosthetic teeth. Endosteal implants are commonly recommended by dentists when patients already have dentures or bridges in place, as they provide a secure foundation for improving oral functionality and enhancing overall dental health.

Dental implant in a teeth mold. 

Subperiosteal implant

Another type of dental implant is the subperiosteal implant, which is positioned either on or above the jawbone. This implant consists of a metal post that is inserted beneath the gum line and protrudes through the gum to secure it in place. Subperiosteal implants are often recommended for individuals who are unable to wear conventional dentures, have insufficient natural jawbone to support an endosteal implant, or prefer to avoid a bone augmentation procedure to enhance the bone structure.

Zygomatic implants

Zygomatic implants are a specialized type of dental implant used in complex cases where traditional implants are not feasible. These implants are longer and are anchored in the dense bone of the cheekbone (zygoma) instead of the jawbone. Zygomatic implants provide a solution for individuals who have experienced severe bone loss in the upper jaw or have inadequate bone structure for conventional implants.

Dental implant options

When it comes to dental teeth implants, patients have a range of options to choose from based on their specific needs and circumstances. Three notable options include mini dental implants, immediate-load dental implants, and the All-on-4 implant technique.

Mini dental implants

Mini dental implants, comparable in size to a toothpick or the lead of a pencil, offer a narrower alternative to traditional implants. These implants are commonly used to stabilize lower dentures and can be inserted using minimally invasive techniques. If you have significant bone loss or limited jawbone structure, your dentist may recommend mini dental implants as they are designed to accommodate such situations. Additionally, if you experience loose dentures, mini dental implants can provide stability, preventing discomfort or embarrassment by minimizing slippage during eating or speaking.

Immediate-load dental implant

Same-day implants, also known as immediate-load dental implants, offer a convenient and efficient solution where your dentist can place both the implants and temporary teeth during a single appointment. This approach is suitable when you have sufficient natural bone and a secure implant foundation to support the placement of a new temporary tooth immediately.

All-on-4 dental implants

If you require a complete set of replacement teeth for either the upper or lower jaw, your dentist may suggest the All-on-4 dental implant technique. This approach involves the placement of four implants in the available bone, followed by the attachment of special abutments capable of supporting temporary replacement teeth on the same day. After a healing period of approximately 6 months, during which your gum tissues heal and the implants fuse with your natural bone, your permanent replacement teeth will be placed by your dentist.

Doctor looking at x-rays of teeth for where to place dental implant. 

The process for dental implants

Dental implant surgery is a multi-step process that involves several stages to restore missing teeth and improve oral function. This detailed approach to dental implant surgery ensures a durable and natural-looking solution for individuals seeking to regain their smile and oral functionality.

Dental implant steps and stages:

  1. Initial examination. During a comprehensive examination, your dentist or oral surgeon will assess the condition of your jawbone and determine the most suitable dental implant process or surgery. This evaluation involves X-rays, impressions, and color matching for natural-looking implants.
  2.  Tooth extraction. Before proceeding with the dental work, if you have a remaining tooth that needs replacement, your dentist will remove it during the same appointment as the implant insertion.
  3. Inserting the dental implant and bone grafting. There are two types of dental implants: those inserted into the jawbone and those placed under the gumline. If you opt for the jawbone implant, a strong and thick jawbone may eliminate the need for additional bone grafting. Once the implant is in place, the jawbone gradually integrates with it, making it a seamless part of your natural gum line.
  4. Abutment placement. Once your teeth implant has achieved stability, the dentist will attach an abutment to the implant, serving as a connector to your crown. This abutment requires tightening to ensure it remains secure during eating.
  5. Adding the permanent crown. Once your gums have fully healed, your dentist will proceed to create your artificial tooth or crown. At this stage of the dental implant process, you have the option to choose between a removable implant or a permanent one.

The pros & cons of dental implants

Dental implants have revolutionized the field of restorative dentistry, offering a reliable and long-lasting solution for replacing missing teeth. With their numerous benefits, including enhanced aesthetics, improved chewing ability, and preservation of jawbone structure, dental implants have become a popular choice for patients seeking a permanent tooth replacement option.

However, it is important to consider the potential drawbacks as well. Factors such as the initial cost, time commitment, and the need for surgery should be taken into account.

We will explore the pros and cons of dental implants, enabling you to make an informed decision about whether this treatment option is the right fit for you.

Benefits of dental implants

Let鈥檚 break down the benefits of dental implants:

  1.  A dental implant can last forever. The failure rate of implants is extremely low. With a 95% success rate, implants are the most proven and effective treatment offered in modern dentistry.
  2. Implants look like natural teeth. There are no other tooth replacement treatments that are as holistic and non-invasive to your smile as dental implants.
  3. They鈥檙e the most cost-effective missing tooth treatment. Compared to other types of restorations that need to be routinely replaced every several years, the price of dental implants is relatively less.
  4. You can replace as many teeth as you need. With dental implants it鈥檚 possible to use one, two, or as few as four to support anything from a single crown to a full arch denture.

Disadvantages of dental implants

Here are some of the downsides and disadvantages to dental implants:

  1. The restoration on top can wear out. The porcelain component of a crown or bridge placed on a dental implant may wear out over time and require replacement every few years or once per decade.
  2. You need enough bone to support teeth implants. A missing tooth can lead to bone loss over time, making it important to have sufficient bone to support dental implants. If bone loss has occurred, a bone graft can effectively address this issue, providing a solution to ensure successful implant placement.
  3. The initial investment is expensive. Opting for dental implants may involve slightly higher upfront treatment expenses compared to alternatives like dentures.
  4. The process is time-consuming. Dental implant surgery entails multiple phases of treatment, including consultation, examination, surgical placement, healing, and restorative visits. This comprehensive process typically spans approximately six months and necessitates several appointments to ensure successful results.
Patient having teeth and gums examined by a doctor.

Alternatives to dental implants

There are several alternatives to dental implants. Here are the four best alternatives:

  1. Dental bridges. A dental bridge is a fixed solution for missing teeth, supported by crowns. It stays in place securely, enabling comfortable eating and speaking.
  2. Dentures. Dentures are removable and natural-looking tooth replacements. Options include full or partial dentures based on the number of teeth to restore.
  3. Resin-bonded bridge. Resin-bonded bridges function like natural teeth but use resin instead of adjacent teeth for attachment.
  4. Flipper. Flipper is a temporary, natural-looking partial denture that attaches to the sides of a missing tooth, preventing adjacent teeth from shifting. It's comfortable, doesn't need metal clasps, and is easy to wear. However, it's not a permanent solution and is less expensive.

How much do dental implants cost?

If you鈥檙e wondering how much dental implants are, we have you covered. The cost of a dental implant typically ranges from $3,500 to $6,700, with an average price of about $4,800 per tooth. This price encompasses both the implant device and the surgical placement procedure. For those considering a full mouth of dental implants, the average cost can range from approximately $43,000 to $56,000.

Keep an eye on Impress

At Impress we deliver expert, tech-enhanced clear aligners. As we are a growing company, we encourage you to keep an eye out as we continue to grow our offerings and soon will be able to provide patients with dental implants as an offering.

If you鈥檙e interested in orthodontic care, we encourage you to find the nearest Impress clinic to you and schedule your complimentary consultation with one of our expert doctors. Need further help? Feel free to reach out to us via email or give us a call.

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Dental implants FAQ

Are dental implants painful?

Dental implant surgery encompasses a process that may cause temporary pain, as it involves minor trauma to the gums and jaw. However, during the surgical procedure, patients should not experience any pain due to the application of local anesthesia, which numbs the mouth. As the effects of the anesthesia subside, it is common for patients to experience varying levels of post-operative discomfort or sensitivity.

How long does a dental implant procedure take?

The duration of dental implant surgery typically ranges from 1 to 2 hours for each implant being placed. Once this crucial step is accomplished, a waiting period of approximately 3 months is commonly observed by most dentists before proceeding with the final restoration of the tooth replacement. This interval allows for proper healing and integration of the implant with the jawbone, ensuring a solid foundation for the subsequent restoration.

What are dental implants made of?

The majority of what dental implants are primarily made of is titanium or zirconium oxide. However, alternative materials like gold alloys, cobalt-based alloys, titanium alloys, and ceramic materials are occasionally utilized in certain cases. The choice of material depends on various factors, including the specific requirements of the patient and the preferences of the dentist or oral surgeon.

How long do dental implants last?

Wondering how long dental implants last? It is typical for dental implants to last 10 to 30 years, offering a long-lasting tooth replacement option. In many cases, depending on the age of the patient at the time of the implant placement, it is likely that the implant will endure for the remainder of their life.

Are dental implants covered by insurance?

Many wonder are dental implants covered by insurance. While dental implants are widely recognized as a crucial element in restoring both oral health and overall well-being for individuals with missing teeth, numerous insurance companies classify them as purely cosmetic and not medically necessary procedures. Consequently, such insurance providers often do not provide coverage for dental implant treatments. However, it is well understood by those who have experienced tooth loss that replacing missing teeth is of paramount importance for their oral health, overall health, and quality of life.

Who does dental implants?

Dental implant placement can be performed by three primary providers: general or cosmetic dentists, oral surgeons, and periodontists. Each of these professionals, who do have expertise in dental implants, may specialize in different aspects of the procedure. Depending on the complexity of the case and individual needs, patients can choose the most suitable provider for their dental implant placement.


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