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Different Types of Dental Implants

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    What is the best way to replace badly damaged or missing teeth? Dental implants, removable dentures or maybe dental bridges? Without a doubt, implants win. They offer much more benefits compared to other teeth replacement methods. Additionally, implants are available in many shapes, and sizes, and can be inserted using various techniques to suit the needs of each patient.

    In this article, we will look at the different types of dental implants available in Singapore. We will cover all the details you may want to know about each type and how to choose the most appropriate one for you. So, if you are about to undergo a dental implant procedure, make sure you do not miss the information below.

    Types of tooth implants

    As dental implantology is an ever-evolving field you will find many different types of dental implants on the market. They can be classified based on various factors including their shape, size, and material. Additionally, tooth implants can be divided into a few categories based on the patient's needs, or more specifically, on how many missing teeth need to be replaced.

    Here is a quick overview of all types of dental implants:

    Based on their form, implants can be divided into three main types:

    • endosteal implant
    • subperiosteal implant
    • zygomatic implant.

    Depending on how many teeth need to be replaced, implants can be divided into four types including:

    • single tooth implant
    • implant-supported bridge
    • mini implant
    • all-on-4 dental implants.

    Dental implants can also be made from different materials including:

    • titanium dental implant
    • zirconia dental implant.

    In general, before you undergo implant surgery, your dentist will discuss all the possible options and implant placement techniques with you and help you decide what is right for your particular situation. Choosing the correct type of implant will help you achieve long-lasting results and maintain healthy teeth.

    3D Illustration. Dental tooth implant

    Endosteal dental implants

    Let's start with one of the most popularly used types of artificial tooth roots known as endosteal implants. They have a screw or a cylinder-shaped design and are normally suitable for most patients. But what actually distinguishes this kind of implant from other types is that it is inserted into the jaw bone. This is why the placement of the endosteal implants involves a surgical procedure.

    The treatment with endosteal implants typically takes time. Your dentists first need to drill your jawbone in order to insert the artificial root (the implant screw). Following this procedure, you will need to allow your bone and soft tissue to heal. This process is known as osseointegration and normally takes several months. After this healing phase, your dentist will be able to continue with the placement of the dental crown.

    Subperiosteal dental implants

    Subperiosteal implants are not very commonly used. However, they are a great alternative to endosteal implants. Subperiosteal implants are metal frames. Unlike screw-shaped structures which are surgically implanted into the bone, subperiosteal implants do not require surgery to be placed.

    If you opt for these kinds of implants they will be placed on top of the jaw with the posts protruding through your gum tissue. The treatment usually can be completed in two dental visits which is much shorter compared to that with endosteal implants.

    Although they seem to be a great option, subperiosteal implants do not come without downsides. One of the main ones is that they are not very stable. This is because the structure is not inserted into the jawbone but it sits over it, underneath the gum tissue.

    Zygomatic dental implants

    Zygomatic dental implants are advanced developments in implant dentistry. They are longer structures that are placed into the zygoma bone (the bone on the arch or the cheekbone). These kinds of implants are an ideal solution for patients with a very atrophic maxilla and mandible, or in other words, severe bone loss in the upper and lower jaw.

    Zygomatic implants offer a number of benefits. They don’t require complex surgery like a bone graft or sinus lift (sinus augmentation). The total treatment time is also much shorter. Additionally, with them, you have the option of having same-day teeth.

    The procedure involves placing the implant at an angle, along the body of the jaw. Unlike regular dental implants which can be placed by a dentist or periodontist, zygomatic implants must be placed only by a qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeon. This is because it is a complicated procedure that requires specific skills.

    Single-tooth dental implant

    As its name suggests, this type of implant is intended to replace one missing tooth. It can be used for both front teeth and back teeth.

    When it comes to back teeth, the single-tooth implant is most frequently used to replace molars. These teeth tend damage very easily and in some instances, it leads to tooth loss.

    In terms of front teeth, in most cases, they missing due to trauma or severe tooth decay. Ideally, the front tooth needs to be replaced immediately with a single dental implant.

    Mini dental implant

    Mini implants (toothpick sized implants) are small, extremely narrow structures that might be used to replace one tooth or multiple teeth. Due to their compact size, mini implants offer a whole bunch of treatment possibilities. Being smaller means that it can be placed on patients with less bone.

    Another advantage of these tooth implants is that they are usually a lot cheaper compared to traditional implants. Many times they are about half the price. This is because they are easier to manufacture as well as easier to place. Mini dental implants typically can be inserted through less invasive techniques than regular implants.

    Implant-supported bridge

    One of the most advanced and reliable techniques for people who have lost all of their teeth or are soon to have their last remaining natural teeth removed is to permanently attach a fixed dental bridge to implants that are anchored into the jawbone.

    These types of implants permanently replace missing roots and lost gum tissues allowing the normal function of nerves, muscles and jaw joints.

    The false teeth look and function just like real teeth and are maintained with the same oral health care practices such as brushing and flossing.

    All-on-4 dental implants

    An all-on-4 implant system is basically an overdenture that is secured permanently to your mouth using four dental implants (2 at the front and 2 at the back). These four implants serve as a support system for a new set of fixed teeth to be placed. Al-on-4 implants allow you to restore all of your upper or lower teeth or both.

    These implants are installed in the jawbone and provide a very solid base into which the dentist attaches a full set of artificial teeth. They can be a great permanent alternative to conventional dentures. The implants provide very natural results and are easy to maintain.

    Titanium dental implants

    Titanium implants are implants that are manufactured of titanium alloy. They are more frequently used compared to those made of zirconia. Titanium is a light and very strong material. When placed into the jawbone, the implant allows the bone to grow around it as it would around a natural tooth, thereby increasing the lifespan of the implant.

    However, the titanium implant has a grey metal colour which over time may become visible around the gum line. It also might be not a suitable tooth replacement option for people with metal allergies.

    Zirconia dental implants

    Zirconia or ceramic implants are structures made of Zirconium oxide. These are relatively new kinds of implants. They are metal-free which makes them suitable for patients with metal allergies. Zirconia implants also provide better aesthetic results, and since they are white in colour they match well with the surrounding teeth.

    However, these implants tend to be less durable than titanium implants because zirconia is more prone to fractures. In addition, these dental implants cost more than their predecessor.

    Which type of dental implant is best for you?

    Dental consultation

    When it comes to selecting the right dental implant for you, there are numerous factors to consider. Here we will look at the different kinds of implants and when they are appropriate to utilize.

    However, keep in mind that only a qualified dentist with extensive training in dental implant placement procedures can evaluate which implant will best fit your needs.

    Endosteal, subperiosteal or zygomatic dental implant

    An endosteal implant will be a good option for you if you have sufficient natural bone at the implant site. In case your jawbone is damaged, weak or not enough to support the artificial tooth root then you might be recommended to get surgery to restore it. There are various alternative dental implant techniques that surgeons use such as bone grafts, sinus lifts and so on.

    However, if you don't want to undergo surgery you can opt for a subperiosteal implant. These types of implants can be installed even when your bone height is insufficient. They also will be ideal for you if you are unable to wear dentures.

    In case you have severely damaged and thin jaw bone then a zygomatic implant might be a great solution for you. These types of dental implants also don't require any additional surgeries.

    Standard single-tooth implant, mini dental implant or an implant-supported bridge

    Mini implants are a good solution if you don't have sufficient bone to support a regular tooth implant. They are also often used to help stabilize dentures. If you are looking for a less invasive dental restoration option then the mini implant can be a good choice.

    However, in case you have enough bone, it might be better to opt for the standard method of replacing a lost tooth. Although the regular implant treatment tends to be longer and more expensive, they are typically more stable and durable than mini implants.

    Implant-supported bridge including an all-0n-4 implant system is an ideal solution if you need to replace all your teeth. By using these techniques, you can get a complete set of upper and lower replacement teeth.

    Titanium or zirconia dental implant

    Titanium implants are usually the most commonly used ones and are suitable for most patients. Some people, however, have concerns about placing a metal implant in their bodies and that is why they choose to have zirconia implants.

    Which kind of implant to choose is mostly your decision. However, titanium dental implants are still preferred by many oral health professionals since they have been around for a long time and have been tested. But if you are looking for a metal-free and more attractive solution you can always opt for a zirconia implant.

    Frequently Asked Questions

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