Types of Dental Implants
There are 2 main types of Dental Implants used to restore teeth or permanent full-arch teeth. (There are zygoma implants but that is out of the scope of this blog)
- Traditional or Root Bound– these were the original implants developed in the 1970’s and the type of implants that are most commonly placed. They are the most successful, most studied, and longest lasting. The diameters of the implants are much bigger, sizes range but are typically 3.5mm, 4.3mm, 5.0mm, and 5.5 mm. Typically the larger diameter are placed in the posterior regions of the jaws, and the 3.5 and 4.3 are placed in the anterior regions. This is 100% of what we place at the Texas Implant & Dental Center of Amarillo.
- Mini-Dental Implants – these are small diameter implants typically 1.8mm, 2.4mm, or 2.9mm. These implants were developed originally as a temporary throw away implant while the Traditional root bound implants are healing. This is what we use the mini implants for. See the pano below – you can see 2 root bound implants and some mini dental implants. Notice the size discrepancy!!! At the Texas Implant & Dental Center of Amarillo we utilize them for 6 months during the Osseo-integration period, and they are removed. There are situations where other Dentists will use these for permanent prosthesis, but that has not been followed or proven treatment solution for a long term approach.
What are common tooth scenarios that you use implants for?
- Single or several missing teeth – Patients can commonly loose 1 or 2 teeth over their life time due to cracked tooth, large tooth decay, or failed root canals. Also, some patients are born with out 1 or 2 teeth ie. congenitally missing teeth. These patients we can easily place 1 implant in the missing tooth and then restore a screw retained crown over it.
- If a patient is in a denture whether it is a top or bottom denture and they are having significant trouble with it, we can provide security, retention, support, and improve their biting force with a denture that is secured to the implants!
- For patients with failing teeth either from wear, tooth decay, or periodontal disease we can provide them with teeth in a day with the All on Four Dental Implant Protocol. This is where the teeth are removed, 4 dental implants are secured into the bone, and then we connect a temporary permanent bridge to the 4 implants.
What about a dental bridge – 3-4 unit bridge versus a Dental Implant? Which is better?
- Typically, if you have 1 tooth that has a problem or 1 missing tooth and the other 2 teeth on either side are healthy it is better not to fabricate a 3 unit bridge. Any time a drill touches a tooth, that tooth is at risk of a root canal and possible fracture down the road. Effectively you are now making a single tooth problem a potential 3-tooth problem.
- I have had 2 patients in the past 2-month come in with a fractured bridge as the anchor tooth broke. Now they patient has a 4 tooth problem and looses another tooth. This can be avoided with a dental implant placed initially.
- Also, our fees for the dental implant are just about the exact same fee as a 3-unit bridge. We do this because the treatment is simpler (usually) to place 1 implant; your dental appointments are much shorter. It typically takes 25-35 minutes for a dental implant appointment versus a 1.5-2 hour bridge appointment, having to wear a temporary, and then have a 1 hour delivery appointment.