Types of Dental Implants

Types of Dental Implants

Older types of dental implants

Various techniques have been developed in implantology since the appearance of the first dental implants. Some of them have been abandoned over the years or are used for very specific cases. Therefore, they are not covered in detail here.

These technologies now obsolete or infrequently used include subperiosteal implants, blade implants, cement-retained implants, screw-retained bars and transosseous implants.

Endosteal implants

The type of implant mostly used nowadays is the endosteal implant, also called root implant. Typically shaped like a screw or a cylinder, it is screwed or impacted into the jawbone and reproduces the shape and function of a natural tooth root.

Shapes and sizes available

The world of dental implantology is competitive and growing. Dozens of manufacturers of dental implants are now recognized worldwide. Surgeons can choose from a variety of implants coming in different shapes, sizes, and materials.  This diversity allows the surgeon to find a solution that is well suited to each patient.

The most common types of dental implants

The most common shapes of root form implants are the cylinder, the straight screw, and the conical screw.

Surfaces of dental implants

Since a few years, the endosteal implants are available in several types of textures in order to maximize the success of osseointegration. Coatings can be polished, roughened, hydroxyapatite (same material as that which constitutes the natural bone), 3D-textured or present a combination of polished and rough finishes (see image below).

In addition, dental implants are available on the market in many diameters and lengths.

Metal-free dental implants

Non-metallic dental implants are conventional size implants made of zirconium ceramic or polymer. These implants have only been used for a few years; they are too recent to determine their long-term effectiveness.

The placement technique of these implants is identical to that of conventional titanium implants. Their use depends on the choice of the dentist or specialist and the patient’s preferences.

The main disadvantage of metal-free implants is their much higher cost than conventional titanium implants.

Benefits of metal-free implants

  • Zirconium is lighter than titanium yet exceptionally strong.
  • Zirconium is biocompatible, meaning that it does not cause any allergies (just like titanium); osseointegration is as successful as with conventional titanium implants.
  • Zirconium implants are white and harmonize better with the colour of natural teeth and gums of the patient, which is not the case with gray titanium implants that can be visible when they are inserted into the jaw.
  • Some studies have shown that zirconium is more hygienic than the metal components used in the manufacturing of conventional dental implants.
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