Traditional dental implants have a screw-shaped metal root that the general dentist inserts into a hole drilled in your jawbone. The system ensures that the healing jawbone has plenty of surface area to cling to as the bone fuses around the root to hold the dental replacement firmly in place. But the screw-shaped root isn't the only type of dental implant available.
Here are the three main types of dental implants, the pros and cons of each kind, and why you might want to discuss these options with your general dentist or cosmetic dentistry office.
The root type dental implant is the traditional type of implant root that has either a screw or a cone-like shape. These shapes are the best matches for sufficiently healthy, dense jawbone that won't have a problem clinging to the complex shapes.
If you do lack the required jawbone, your dentist can perform a bone graft procedure. The graft takes some bone from elsewhere in your mouth, or a synthetic or bovine donor material, and patches that material into the areas of weak bone. A healing period follows to allow the graft material and pre-exsiting bone to heal or fuse together for the ultimate stability.
A plate type implant root, also called a blade-shaped roof, has a wider flatter surface than a traditional dental implant root. The shape provides fewer edges for healing jawbone to cling onto for stability but works better when the jawbone is overly narrow due to the bone's natural shape or decay.
Bone grafts tend to work well when building up an area of erosion or low density. But grafts aren't always the solution and tend not to work as well when the entire jawbone simply grew fairly narrow. The plate type root can fit in fairly narrow jawbones and will still become held into place by the fusing bone but the end result might be a bit less stable than a traditional dental implant.
A Ramus dental implant root is a subset of traditional roots. The Ramus implant root involves the dentist implanting two thin metal bars a short distance away from the implant tooth site. The bars travel through the jawbone under several teeth to provide more support for the dental implant. Ramus implants are more common when the natural jawbone is quite thin or narrow.
Ramus dental implants are also common when using implant-supported partial dentures that involve several missing teeth in the same region of the mouth. The two bars of the Ramus implants can prove more practical than inserting several traditional implant roots.