Different Dental Implant Systems
If your tooth is damaged and needs to be removed, you’ll need to consider your options for replacement. Not only will replacing the tooth look more aesthetically pleasing, but it will also help to avoid a lot of health risks involved with having a missing tooth. One extremely popular form of tooth replacement is dental implants.
Do I Need Dental Implants?
There are times that a dentist is able to save a tooth. If this is the case, a tooth replacement may not be necessary. There are other times, though, in which a tooth is beyond repair. If this is the case, a replacement will be necessary.
Without some sort of replacement, you may find that over time your teeth migrate, and your jawbone loses its strength. This can lead to impacting of teeth and further dental issues. All of these dental issues compound over time, and will often end up being more expensive than the dental implant process.
A tooth replacement will also help to maintain your smile and will boost your confidence.
As soon as you lose a tooth or you find that a tooth is damaged, make an appointment with your dentist. If they are able to save your tooth, they will provide you with the best options to do so. If not, you’ll need to consider different replacement options.
One of the best replacement options that you’ll want to consider (if available) is a dental implant.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial teeth that attach to the jawbone of a patient. They are placed in a way that, over time, the implant fuses with the jawbone. This creates a strong and stable replacement that allows patients to retain a lot of the functionality and appearance of a natural tooth.
A dental implant is made up of a few different parts that include an abutment, a crown and more. All of these parts combined make up a dental implant system.
There are a variety of different choices to be made when you are having dental implants placed. This includes things like materials being used for the implants, the materials being used for the crowns, the impression process and more.
In this article, we will go over the different choices that you’ll make along the dental implant process.
Types of Dental Implant Systems and Their Benefits
Once your dentist and you have decided to move forward with dental implants, you’ll find that there are different types of dental implant systems and materials to choose from. They will each have their drawbacks and benefits. Because of this, you’ll want to carefully consider which options your dentist and you choose when creating your dental implant system.
Below are the different aspects of dental implant systems and their benefits:
- Cementable Abutments: Cementable abutments are a reliable and popular option for patients getting dental implants. Not only are they cost-effective, but they are also easier to retrieve if a replacement is necessary. Cementable abutments are easy to place, and they are ideal for multi-unit restorations. The placement of multi-unit restorations with cementable abutments is similar to that of a bridge placement. With cementable abutments, it’s important to keep in mind there is the danger of excess cement that can cause damage to the peri-implant tissue. This is due to the excess cement extruding into the sulcus.
- Screw-Retained Implants: Screw-retained implants aren’t quite as popular as cementable abutments, but they are still a great option for some patients. Screw-retained implants are more easily retrievable. This is especially helpful when there are a higher number of abutments required. Screw-retained implants are easier to remove for cleaning and maintenance. One of the disadvantages of screw-retained implants is how difficult the placement may be. It can take extra steps, making it a more cumbersome option.
The next thing to consider when choosing your implant system is whether you want to go with a stock abutment or custom abutment. Below are the differences between the two:
- Stock Abutments: Stock abutments are great for tissue and bone level implants. They are a standard size, and are extremely user-friendly. Stock abutments often pair well with cement retained restorations. Stock abutments also make it easier to take impressions. They also allow for the option to choose between straight and angled abutments. There are a few negatives to consider when getting stock abutments. With a stock abutment, the final margin placement of the crown cannot be controlled. This means a correct fit may take more time. Because of their standard size, they also may not be a good choice for the use within the aesthetic zone.
- Custom Abutments: Custom abutments, as the name implies, allow for a greater amount of customization. They are great for tissue or bone level implants, and they can be shaped to perfectly fit the crest of the tissue. Custom abutments can take less time to place, as the process of placement is generally easier. There are also different materials that can be used, which include zirconia and titanium. Custom abutments are a great option for tissue management and health. One of the downsides to custom abutments that you’ll want to consider is their cost. They are generally more expensive than stock abutments.
Another choice that you’ll need to make when customizing your dental implants is what material is being used. There are two main materials that are commonly available. Below are the types of materials, as well as their overall benefits:
- Titanium Implants: Titanium is the primary material used for dental implants. They have an extremely high success rate, and they generally integrate with the jawbone of a patient very well. Titanium is an extremely strong material, and is often long-lasting. Titanium may not be good for certain patients—particularly if they have any sort of metal allergy.
- Zirconium Implants: Zirconium implants are metal-free, which makes them a great choice if a patient has a metal allergy. Zirconium is a sturdy material, and the implants are generally made with other strong materials as well. While Zirconium seems like a very durable material and a great alternative to titanium, there is not a lot of long-term information available about its strength. Because Zirconium is a single piece, they can be more difficult to install. Due to its ceramic color, Zirconium implants can look more organic. There will be no noticeable metal, giving your implant a very natural appearance.
Types of Crowns
There are different types of crowns that you’ll want to consider to be paired with your dental implants. These crown types have different advantages and disadvantages.
Below are different types of crowns and their positives and negatives:
- Full Contour Zirconia Crowns: Full contour zirconia crowns have an excellent appearance. These crowns haven’t been around as long, though, so the long-term impact on surrounding teeth and their effects on tooth enamel are currently unknown.
- Gold: Gold crowns are very reliable, but they are also very noticeable. While some patients like the appearance, for others that want a more natural look, gold may not be the best choice.
- Lithium Disilicate: Lithium disilicate (max crowns) are an excellent choice for zirconia custom abutments. It is important to note that—while resin cement can be used to reduce the risk of fracturing—they also may have trouble remaining sub-gingivally.
While traditionally impressions have been used to create dental implants to meet the specific needs of the patient, recently there has been a new technology that has grown in popularity—intraoral scans. Intraoral scans are a model-less form of impression technology that scan the patient’s mouth to capture the data needed to create a fantastic restoration.
There are a few pros to model-less scans that you’ll want to consider:
- Accuracy: Model-less restorations have been found (after multiple studies) to be extremely accurate. Because of this, they can allow for a better fit than traditional impressions.
- Comfort: Scanning can allow for a more comfortable experience for patients—especially those with a small mouth and/or a strong gag reflex.
- Time: Lab times can be cut down due to impressions being able to be sent digitally. Also, because of the accuracy of the technology, there will most likely be fewer remakes.
Which is Right for You?
The right dental implant system to meet your needs will depend on a variety of factors. There are different ways to take impressions and different types of material to consider. Each of these choices come with different pros and cons.
Different procedures also mean different costs. You’ll want to consider the costs versus the advantages when making your decisions about what materials will be used with your tooth replacement.
Speak with your dentist about what the best materials and processes are right for you. Together you can put together a plan that provides you with the greatest benefits.