There are a huge number of different dental implant systems that can be used to replace missing teeth. This does mean that dentists have a lot of choice when it comes to identifying just the right dental implant for a specific patient. However, most dentists tend to only have experience in just one or two dental implants systems and if this is the case, then you might not necessarily get exactly the right system for your needs. Another thing to bear in mind is that there are only a few well-known manufacturers of dental implants. These manufacturers produce quality implants that have been extensively tested and which achieve very good results. The advantage of making sure your dentist uses one of these well-known systems is that if something goes wrong, you’re more likely to be able to get it repaired by another dentist in any country who will be able to obtain the correct parts and who will have the necessary experience.
Generally, dental implants tend to be categorised by the type of procedure used to place them and may be two-stage or single-stage.
Two-Stage Dental Implants
This is a traditional dental implant procedure involving surgery to place the dental implant into the jawbone before stitching up the gum tissue so the implant can no longer be seen. The implant is then left to heal and integrate with the jawbone for several months before being exposed during a second small surgical procedure so an implant abutment can be attached to the post, which is then used to support the restoration.
Single-Stage Dental Implants
With this type of implant, the post is surgically inserted into the jaw so the top of the implant is level with the gum tissue. Once the gum tissue is stitched back in place, the head of the implant is still visible. After the implant has healed and integrated with the jawbone, the implant abutment can be attached to the post without the need for a second surgical procedure.
Different Dental Implant Coatings
The majority of dental implants are made from titanium alloy, but the actual surface of the implant post can vary and this affects the integration process with the jawbone and the stability of treatment. For example, a more porous surface allows greater bone contact than a smooth the surface. Dental implant surfaces may also be acid etched or roughened, or grit blasted. Some will have a plasma sprayed titanium surface and a plasma sprayed hydroxyapatite coating to encourage the growth of new bone cells.
Dental Implants Can Differ in Size
Standard dental implants can be 3.5 mm to 4.2 mm in diameter, but it’s also possible to get wider dental implants that may be up to 6 mm in diameter and which are used to support larger back teeth. Then there are mini or narrow body dental implants that can be as small as 2 mm to 3.5 mm in diameter. These can be useful when space is limited.
Selecting just the right dental implant is vital for long-term success and this is where it really helps to select your dental implant dentist with care.