This implant takes the form of a lightweight framework which is designed to your anatomical requirements. In other words, the size and shape of your mouth.
This framework is inserted underneath the gum tissue and sits over the jawbone, acting as a series of tooth roots. This enables it to act as an ‘anchor’ for the subsequent restorations.
The restorations are attached to this implant via a series of posts which protrude through the gum tissue.
This is a custom made implant which is produced in two ways:
- Single surgery method: this involves the dentist arranging a special CAT scan of your jawbone. The data from this scan along with advanced computer modelling software will be used to construct a model of your jawbone.
This model is then passed to a dental laboratory that will use this to design the subperiosteal implant that will fit onto your jawbone. The procedure involves the dentist exposing your jawbone and placing the implant on top before closing the incision with tiny stitches.
- Dual surgery method: this surgical procedure involves the dentist exposing your jawbone, under anaesthesia, in order to take an ‘impression’. He or she will use special materials to do so.
The model is then passed to a dental laboratory who will construct a subperiosteal implant, which is specially designed to fit your jaw and no one else’s.
The dentist will carry out a second procedure in which he/she will again, expose your jawbone and place the implant. This sits on top of your jawbone, under the gums.
The incisions are closed with small stitches. Restorations can now be put in place.
This is ready for the placement of the restorations.
Are these an option?
Unfortunately, these also have a high failure rate and as a result, are not recommended.
There is another form of implant called a ‘Trans-Osseous Implant’ which involves attaching a plate via a series of screws on top of the jawbone. The implants are inserted into the jawbone and stick out above the gums, ready for the restorations.
However, the implants for this procedure are both costly and difficult to produce. As a result of this, this procedure is not usually recommended.
The Endosteal or Root Form Implant is the preferred type of implant.
To summarise, the main advantages of implants over bridges and dentures are:
- Prevent bone loss and shrinkage (resorption) of the jawbone following tooth loss.
- Comfortable and more natural looking.
- No slipping or unnecessary movement as compared to conventional dentures.
- A good alternative to bridgework
What happens if I can’t afford dental implants?
There are some patients who for financial reasons are unable to afford dental implants. In these cases, the mini implant is a good, affordable option.