Different Types of Dental Implants: How to Choose the Right Ones for You
It can rob you of confidence when you have missing teeth, stopping you from really living your full potential. This article explains the different types of dental implants available and how to choose the ones that will work best for you.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Dentures and removable bridges can not provide the same benefits as dental implants, so dental implants are considered the gold standard for replacing missing teeth. The top five benefits of dental implants are:
- Look and act like natural teeth, staying secure and enabling normal chewing and bite strength.
- Prevent bone deterioration by stimulating the natural growth of the jaw bone.
- Support remaining teeth, preventing movement, which may cause pain and headaches.
- Prevent gaps in the gums, which may increase the risk of gum disease.
- Prevent sunken jaw, which changes facial structure, making you look significantly older than you are.
What Is a Dental Implant?
The most common dental implants are endosteal implants surgically implanted into your jawbone. The implant is made of three parts, a screw, an abutment (post) and the crown (fake tooth), The screw is implanted into the jaw, and then the abutment, which is a small post, is then fixed into the screw, through the gum to provide a secure base for the fake tooth or teeth. Before the procedure, a local anaesthetic is injected to make the process completely painless.
The screw and abutment are made from titanium, and the crowns from porcelain, shaped and colour matched to be undetectable from the rest of your teeth.
The screw and abutment can last a lifetime, and the crowns will usually need replacing after approximately 20 years. This is a simple process and requires the crowns to be removed and replaced with new ones.
What Are the Different Types of Dental Implants?
Four types of dental implants and various factors may determine the type of dental implants you choose, which include:
- The quality of your jaw bone
- How many teeth need replacing
- The cost.
Single Tooth Dental Implants
Single tooth dental implants are suitable for almost anyone. You can have one or more teeth replaced with individual tooth implants, and they are the most similar to natural teeth. Once implanted, each tooth functions in the same way as natural teeth and looks the same. This is because each tooth is separate from the tooth next to it. They are perfect for missing front or back teeth or when there are multiple missing teeth in different parts of the gumline. A single tooth implant will also help safeguard the natural teeth’ health on either side.
An implant-supported bridge is similar to a standard bridge, with one key difference — it doesn’t move or need to be removed. The bridge is secured to implanted screws and posts in the same way single tooth implants are. However, the bridge will consist of several teeth in a row, which means two implants can usually support a bridge of four teeth. A bridge is ideal when there are four or more missing teeth in a row, as it is less expensive than four individual dental implants and still provides the benefits of permanently fixed, natural-looking teeth.
All-on-6 vs All-on-4 Dental Implants
All-on-6 dental implants consist of an entire prosthetic arch of teeth fixed onto six dental implants. The benefit of all-on-6 dental implants is that the additional implants provide extra stability and help to reinforce and strengthen the jaw bone. The additional implants also help distribute pressure more evenly when eating and chewing, which may enhance the time your prosthetic arch of teeth lasts.
All-on-4 dental implants consist of an entire prosthetic arch of teeth fixed onto four dental implants. They are normally recommended when there is insufficient jaw bone strength to implant six dental implants.
Temporary dentures are placed onto the implants on the same day, which means you never have to manage without teeth. The temporary ones are replaced three to six months later when your bone has fused around the implants and they are strong enough to support the permanent dentures.
Implant dentures can replace several teeth or a complete arch of missing teeth. They are more cost-effective than other dental implants, and, because they are clipped onto the implants, you can remove them for cleaning.
How to Find a Dentist for Dental Implants
You need to make two important checks when looking for a dentist.
- Check the dentist’s registration status on the General Dental Council (GDC) website.
- Go to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and search for the last inspection report.
All dentists do not offer dental implant surgery, and you should look for a few things when you choose your dental implant dentist, including:
- How long have they been providing dental implants?
- How recent are the before and after patient photos?
- Do they offer complimentary, no-obligation consultations?
- Do they have all-inclusive treatment packages?
- Can they provide 0% interest-free payment plans?
During your consultation, your dentist should take the time to explain which dental implants are most appropriate based on your goals. Ask for an all-inclusive treatment package covering any additional treatment you may need in the first year after your dental implants.