Dental implants have been done to replace missing teeth for at least 40 years. However, they are initially very expensive, which is why people generally had not heard of them very much back in those days. They offer an alternative to dentures, which have certain drawbacks such as discomfort or a loose fit, for some people.
There are four different types of implants and what you get depends on your jaw bone structure and other things such as whether it is molars or other teeth that are being replaced. It may also depend on your general health and whether the first implant was successfully integrated with the bone.
Here are the four different types:
- Endosseous implants. This is the most common type of implant. Made of titanium, it is shaped like a screw and embedded into the jaw bone where it is left until it is integrated with the bone. That is, the bone grows over and around it, making it very strong. The bone has to be deep and wide to make this successful.
- Subperiosteal implant. This one is chosen where the bone in the jaw is not wide and deep enough for an Endosseous implant. It is more like a metal frame and is located under the gum line, not in the bone, but on the top of it.
- Transosteal implant. This consists of a metal pin or a u-shaped frame that goes through the jaw bone and gum tissue.
- Mini dental implants are somewhat similar to the Endosseous implants, but are much smaller. They are sometimes used for the smaller teeth such as front and pre-molar teeth, or any that are very narrow, or if the density of the bone tissue is low. They can also be used to secure upper and lower arch dentures, bridges and fixed crowns.
Mini dental implant screws are only 3mm in width rather than the 4-5mm of the normal Endosseous implant screws. Being smaller they cannot withstand the same chewing force as the larger ones, so cannot be used to support molars.
2 Benefits of mini implants
Mini implants have 2 main benefits and those are that because they are smaller they heal much faster and they cost less, making them much more affordable.
It is important to understand that when getting implants you don’t need to have one for each tooth missing. One implant can support two fake teeth and two can support four. However, if you have 12 missing teeth, you’ll only need four implants to support them all.
While having an implant may seem ideal, because of the cost it is sometimes better to have root canal surgery instead. This is when the root of the tooth is cleaned and filled, thus saving the tooth for use, even though the nerve has been taken out.