What are dental implants

What Are Dental Implants

what are dental implants

Dental implants are usually referred to the teeth that are replaced by artificial means. The dental implant is usually made of Titanium or Titanium alloy. The dental implant itself can be coated with different coatings that increase the stability and bone integration. There are many types but the most common are screw like structures that replace the root of the individual teeth. On these dental Implants the crowns or the teeth part can be placed. These dental implants can be placed in a permanent or removable fashion.


These include but are not limited to Dental implant Bridges, dental implant crowns, dental implant dentures.

Dental Implant Types

Root Form Dental Implants

types of dental implants

Root form dental implants are the most popular dental implants throughout the world. Although they were not the first to be used in North America the root form dental implants now compose the majority of all dental implant treatments. These types of dental implants are made to resemble the root of a tooth and come in a cylinder shape dental implant, a straight screw shape dental implant or a conical screw shape dental implant.  

Dental Implant Surfaces

Mini dental implant type

Dental implants originally had a smooth titanium surface and certain ones still do. Companies have tried to improve the dental implant by making changes to the  implant surface. Making the surface rough increases the total surface area and therefore provides better stability. Adding a layer of Hydroxyapatite apparently makes the bone adhere to it better since bone is made from the same material. The rough surface can infect more easily when exposed to the mouth so there are implants with areas of both smooth and roughened surfaces. One company actually made an implant with not just a roughened surface but actual microscopic globular areas that increase the surface area tremendously. This would allow the placement of smaller dental implants with greater stability (good for areas of limited bone availability).

Root Form Dental Implants & Crowns

The implant refers to the root area only. There are 2 basic ways a tooth is attached to the implant in a single tooth type of situation.

A "cemented" method would be where a middle structure is screwed onto the implant with an even smaller screw. The tooth crown or cap is then cemented on the tooth in the same way a normal crown is cemented on a natural tooth. This is the best way to place a tooth on an implant in a single tooth type of situation. The advantage is that the crown rarely loosens. The disadvantage is that the cost of the restoration may be more and that if it does loosen then it is more difficult to tighten.

anatomy of a dental implant

Root Form Dental Implants & Crowns
Screw Retained

The second method of securing the crown to the tooth is the "screw retained" method. In this option the crown is screwed directly to the implant through the crown itself. The access hole is then filled with a filling. The advantage of this type of method is the fact that the crown can be easily removed if needed to be repaired. The disadvantage is that this small screw is put under a lot more pressure than in the previous situation and the screw can become loose more often needing tightening

anatomy of a dental implant

Mini Dental Implant

Mini dental implant type

Mini Dental Implant Denture

blade dental implant type

Mini Implants may  also be used to secure a denture  this method is faster, less expensive and  less traumatic  than  regular size dental implants. Due to their smaller size, they may be overloaded with heavy biting and fail prematurely. This treatment options may be good for an elderly person that has a top full denture which will not cause heavy bitting forces on the bottom.

Blade Form Dental Implant

blade dental implant type

One of the first dental implant types to be used in North America, blade implants are now seldom used. This is because root form dental implants offer more advantages, and more support from dental implant companies. They are placed by creating a channel in the bone,  and pressing the blade into the channel, with the crown support sticking out.

Subperiosteal Dental Implant

subperiosteal dental implant type

Subperiosteal dental implants are another implant type that were used prior to the advent of root form dental implants in the US. The implant is not screwed into the bone. It is placed on the bone and secured in place by the gums and something called a periosteal membrane, which acts like a sticky film and holds the subperiosteal dental implant in place. Currently, this type of implants is also rarely used.

Screw Retained Bar

subperiosteal dental implant type

This type of dental implant is like the subperiosteal dental implant since it sits under the "periosteal membrane" but it is additionally stabilized by bone screws that screw parts of the structure to the bone. This type of dental implant  is not common but still used for the severaly atrophied (shrunken) lower Jaw where traditional root form implants cannot be placed and grafting is also not feasible.

Trans Osseous Dental Implant

subperiosteal dental implant type

The trans osseous  dental implant  is a very stable implant that acts like 4 standard root form implants. It is placed from the bottom of the jaw and protrudes through the upper part. There a bar can be secured to it and a denture supported by the structure. This implant is also not performed by many dentists as it is very difficult and needs to be done in the hospital in most cases. It is a good alternative when the lower jaw is very atrophied (shrunken) and the jaw is very thin.

Zygomaticus Dental Implant (Severe upper atrophy)

Zygomaticus dental implant type

The Zygomaticus dental implants are very long implants that are used in very specific locations. This type of dental implant is placed in the back of the upper jaw, taking advantage of an area of bone that is still available in severely atrophied (shrunken) upper jaws. They  are usually used when a patient wants to have a full upper non removable implant supported set of teeth and does not want to go through the procedure of grafting the sinuses. This procedure is very complex and not many dentists perform it. It can also  be done  if the sinuses cannot be grafted.