When you receive a dental implant, you need to know what you are in for. At the most basic level, a dental implant is a titanium post that is connected to your jawbone and is used as an anchor for replacing one or several teeth. As you dig deeper, however, you will find that there are several types of dental implants that you can receive. The type you receive will depend on several factors including how healthy your bone is and how many teeth your dentist and periodontist have to replace. 

The Two Basic Types of Implants with Variations

Periodontists will choose from the following two broad categories of dental implants depending on what shape your bone is in:

  1. Endosteal—Is the dental term for a post that is implanted into the bone. This placement provides the most secure anchor for a replacement tooth. Among endosteal implants, there are three basic types: 1) Screw, 2) cylinder, and 3) blade. A dental professional will choose among these depending on whether your bone is porous, healthy, or otherwise, and depending on their familiarity with using the different types. 
  2. Subperiosetal—This type of implant is placed on and anchored to the bone. These are used mainly for patients who have minimal bone height or are unable to wear traditional dentures. 

Anchoring Teeth to the Implant

Once dentists have created an anchor, they can then use it as a foundation for a few different procedures:

  1. Placing a Crown—If you are missing just one tooth, a dentist will cement a crown directly to the post once the bone has been given proper time to heal around the implant (about six months).
  2. Anchoring a Bridge—If you are missing multiple consecutive teeth, a dentist can build a bridge, which is a framework used to support more than one crown. Typically, the implant will be just one of multiple anchor points.
  3. Anchoring Dentures—If you are sick of affixing dentures to your gums and are looking for a more permanent solution, then a periodontist can place a few implants strategically in your mouth, which can then be used to anchor the dentures permanently. 

Dental implants serve as the foundation for several dental procedures, which can be used to improve your smile. Losing a tooth or teeth can be a traumatic experience. Social stigma can follow those with a deficient smile. If you are ready to reclaim your smile, you need to talk to your dentist to see if a dental implant placement can work for you.