According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 31.6 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 44 suffer from dental caries, or tooth decay. If you have been considering dental implants to improve your smile and self-esteem, you might not realize there are several options available.
Here are a few dental implant options you can discuss with your dentist.
Subperiosteal Dental Implant
If your jawbone cannot support a dental implant, if you do not want to rebuild or strengthen your jawbone through a bone grafting surgery, or if you want to hold your dentures more firmly in place, your dentist might recommend a subperiosteal dental implant. This type of implant is considered a single-stage implant because you will only require one surgery. However, it will take multiple dental visits to complete the procedure.
During the procedure, a dentist will place a metal framework in the gums, which allows the series of posts to be exposed. The gums are sutured around the framework and the mouth is allowed to heal fully. Once healed, the dentist will secure a bridge, crown, or series of crowns to the metal framework.
Some patients choose to receive a subperiosteal dental implant to act as an anchor for their dentures. If this is the case, the dentist will show them how to attach their full or partial dentures to the metal framework.
Endosteal Dental Implant
The other common option available is considered a two-stage implant because you will require two surgeries to complete the procedure. An endosteal dental implant is more commonly used than a subperiosteal implant, especially for people who have a healthy jawbone and do not need dentures.
However, even if your jawbone cannot support an endosteal implant, there are options available to help provide a sturdier base. A bone graft is a good option because it helps strengthen the existing bone. The graft process involves introducing a small piece of healthy bone to the affected area. A small piece of bone is introduced, and after several months, the graft and jawbone will fuse and create a strong base for an endosteal dental implant.
During the endosteal implant surgery, the dentist will place a small titanium screw directly into the jawbone, which is the first stage of the two-part surgery. The dentist will fit a temporary implant that will remain until the gums completely heal.
Next, the dentist will perform a second surgery which involves removing the temporary implant and fitting the patient with a permanent implant or bridge.
Caring for Your New Dental Implant
Whether you choose an endosteal dental implant or a subperiosteal dental implant, it is critical to care for your new smile to ensure the implant doesn't fail. Here are a few simple tips to help you properly care for your beautiful new dental implants:
Avoid hard and chewy food. Your new implants are strong, but they can be chipped or broken if you chew on hard food, including ice, or enjoy a chewy treat, such as taffy.
Avoid abrasive dental products. Use a non-abrasive toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your implants. Abrasive, gritty products and hard-bristled brushes can cause scratches and damage to your implants that can harbor bacteria.
Floss daily. Choose an unwaxed floss or a product that is designed for use on implants.
If you suspect your implant is loose or there are scratches or damage, contact your dentist immediately to perform any repairs or an implant replacement. If you're considering dental implants, it is critical to ask your dentist will option is best for you and if there are any procedures that need to be performed before the implant surgery can occur.