There are many dental implant types, each designed for a specific function. Most are made of titanium, an inert metal proven to be effective at fusing with living bone, a process known as osseointegration.
The osseointegrated implant is based on the discovery by Swedish Professor Per-Ingvar BrFnemark that titanium could be successfully incorporated into bone when osteoblasts grow on and into the rough surface of the implanted titanium. This forms a structural and functional connection between the living bone and the dental implant. A variation on the dental implant procedure is the implant-supported bridge, or implant-supported denture.
There are different types of implants. They include artificial bone substitute implants, endosteal implants, root form implants, a plate form implants and the subperiosteal implant.
Artificial bone substitute implants involves the use of a synthetic bone substitute. The synthetic bone is fitted on top of the bone to help rebuild the shrinking ridge and provide sturdy support for dentures. It is made of the same type of mineral found in natural bone, therefore bonds to the existing jaw bone quite easy.
Endosteal Implants are inserted into the jaw bone to serve as the tooth's root.
Root form implants are closest is shape and size to the natural tooth root and are commonly used in wide, deep bone to provide a base for replacement of one, several or a complete arch of teeth. The cylindrical or screw type implant, called "root form", is similar in shape to the root of a tooth. It surface area is designed to promote good bone attachment. A root form implant design is one of the most widely used designs and it is generally placed where there is plenty of width and depth of jawbone. The healing period with a root form implant can vary from three to six months or more during the osseointegration processs. The bone grows in and around the implant, creating a strong structural support.
Plate form implants are usually used when the bone is so narrow, it may be unsuitable for both a root form implant and a dental bone graft procedure. The plate form implant is flat and long and can usually fit into the narrow jawbone. Similar to root form implants, there is usually a healing period for osseointegration, although some plate form implants are designed for immediate restoration.
If a patient has advanced jawbone resorption, there may not be enough bone width or height for either a root form or plate form implant in which case, a subperiosteal implant may be warranted. A subperiosteal implant is custom made and designed to sit on top of the bone, but under the gums. There are two methods for placement.of a subperisteal implant: the single surgery method and the dual surgery method.
A single surgery method involves the use of CAT scan data. Using CAT scan data and advanced computer modeling techniques, a model of the jawbone is constructed. This model is used by a dental laboratory to fabricate a custom subperiosteal implant to fit the jaw. After the implant is fabricated, the jawbone is exposed and the implant is inserted. The gum area is stitched in preparation for the replacement teeth.
After applying anesthesia, the dentist exposes the jawbone and takes an impression of the bone using special materials. This model is used by a dental laboratory to carefully create a custom implant to fit your jaw. The second procedure follows placement of the implant and stitching the gum area, preparing it for the replacement teeth.
There are basically two steps involved in a dental implant procedure. You may read more about it, as well as view the short video below provided courtesy of Dr. Chris Kammer. The video provides great insight into the process.