The loss of a tooth or many teeth can be devastating to most of us. We feel self-conscious when we smile. We can no longer eat some of the foods we once enjoyed and sometimes people judge us on our teeth, or lack of them. Dental implants can seem pretty scary when you first learn about them but they are a safe and effective way to get back that smile and start eating those foods we avoided again.
If you are one of the many people who might need to have dental implants it’s important to know exactly what you need before you go in to see an oral surgeon. The type you choose will depend on several factors and in some cases will depend solely on what you feel best suits your needs. There are two main types of dental implants that you have to choose from and each one is very different.
The first type is knows as an Endosteal implant. With this procedure the dentist, or oral surgeon in most cases, will surgically put screws into your jawbone that he will eventually put permanent teeth on. Once the screws are in place, a set of temporary teeth will be placed over them so you won’t have to be without teeth for an extended period of time. Your gums will need to have time to heal for a few weeks before you go back to get your permanent teeth. In between the two procedures you will have some follow-up appointments with your dentist to make sure you are healing adequately and there is no infection.
Once your gums have healed, the oral surgeon will then put in an abutment, attach the final crown to it and you’ll have beautiful, permanent teeth again. This procedure is used mainly when a person only needs a few implants and who have a strong jawbone to support the screws into the bone.
The second type is knows as a Subperiosteal implant. With this type of implant they are put on top of the bone rather than inside your gums. This implant will be visible and will hold your bridge in place or will anchor your entire set of dentures. A lot of people choose this option if they don’t have a strong jawbone to attach screws to or if they have a full set of dentures and don’t want a bunch of screws in their jawbone.
Both procedures take at least two trips to the oral surgeon’s office, so you’ll need to prepare for a little bit of down time for either procedure you decide to have. Neither should keep you down for very long, but it is important to know that there will be some downtime.
Once your oral surgeon has done an assessment and discussed which option will work the best for you, then the surgery can be scheduled and you’ll be on your way to a healthy mouth again. Every person is different so talk to your dentist and oral surgeon to make sure you are getting the best option for your personal needs.