Dental implants come in various types to accommodate different patient needs and anatomical considerations. While there are many subcategories and techniques for dental implants based on their design, placement methods, and application, when discussing broad categories, dental implants can be categorized by their size or platform, their location, and other specialized features. Here are four broad classifications:
Based on Size or Platform:
- Standard Platform: These are typically used for larger spaces, such as for molar replacements.
- Narrow or Mini Implants: These are smaller in diameter and are often used in tight spaces, like for incisor replacements or when the bone width is limited. Mini implants can also be used to support removable dentures.
Based on Location:
- Endosteal Implants: These are the most common type of dental implant. They are placed directly into the jawbone, acting like the root of a tooth. They’re typically made of titanium and are shaped like small screws.
- Subperiosteal Implants: These are placed on top of the jawbone but underneath the gum tissue. They’re used less commonly today but can be considered for patients who don’t have enough healthy jawbone and aren’t suitable for bone augmentation procedures.
Based on Length or Design:
- Standard Length: Most implants are of standard length designed to fit most situations.
- Short Implants: These are used in situations where there isn’t enough bone height, and bone grafting isn’t ideal or possible.
- Zygomatic Implants: These are much longer than traditional implants and are anchored in the zygomatic bone (cheekbone). They’re used mainly in the upper jaw when there’s severe bone loss, and standard implants or bone grafting aren’t suitable.
- Immediate Load Implants/Teeth-in-a-Day: This approach allows for the placement of a temporary tooth/teeth on the same day as the implant surgery. One popular method under this category is the All-on-4 technique, where a full arch of teeth can be supported by just four implants.
The best implant type for a particular patient will depend on various factors, including their bone quality and quantity, the location and number of missing teeth, their overall health, and their budget. It’s essential to have a thorough assessment by a dental implant specialist to determine the most appropriate type of implant.