Three Alternative Dental Implants For When You Don't Have Enough Bone

26 May 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Articles

Endosseous (root-form) implants are the most common type of dental implants used today, because they provide the best stability, integrate well with the jaw bone, and have the highest long-term success rate. However, these implants are screwed into the bone, which means your jaw must have adequate density and be healthy enough to support the implant. If your jaw bone is naturally thin or deteriorated too much to get this type of implant, you may still be able to replace your missing teeth using a different type of dental device. Here are three alternative options.

Subperiosteal Implants

Subperiosteal implants sit underneath the gum line but on top of the jaw bone. The implants are placed into a wire frame, and the frame is wrapped over the jaw. The gums are placed on top, which helps secure the frame in place.

Although a subperiosteal implant can be crafted to hold just one implant, it really shines when it comes to replacing multiple teeth. In fact, it can be used as a partial or full denture alternative, letting you replace large sections of missing or bad teeth at the same time. Since you're not digging into the jaw bone, healing time is typically reduced because you're usually only waiting on the gum tissue to mend.

However, one distinct disadvantage of this type of implant is the wire frame can move if it's not anchored well. This can damage the jaw bone and nerves, cause pain, and affect your ability to eat and speak. If not corrected, you may lose gum tissue and teeth.

Another disadvantage is subperiosteal implants cost up to $20,000 or more to place. In comparison, endosseous implants are priced around $1,800 to $2,800 per tooth, but may cost more if you need tissue or bone grafts.

Transosteal Implants

Transosteal implants are a combination of endosseous and subperiosteal implants. The implant posts are placed on a single pin or a U-shaped metal bridge. However, it is installed at the bottom of the jaw and passed through the bone and gum tissue.

This setup appears to offer the best of both worlds. Because the implant passes through the bone, there's little risk it will move around. However, you don't have to depend on the implant integrating with the bone as you would with endosseous titanium posts.

But there are disadvantages to this method. Transosteal implants can only be placed on the lower jaw, and it is a major oral surgery requiring hospitalization and anesthesia. This is because the dentist has to remove the bottom of your mouth to access the underside of the jaw. If something goes wrong with the implant and it needs to be removed, you would have to repeat the process. Additionally, there are major nerves that thread through your jaw bone, and this type of implant increases the risk the dentist may damage a nerve and cause other problems such as trigeminal neuralgia.

Due to the significant amount of surgery required, transosteal implants are rarely done any more, so information about the cost isn't readily available. However, the fact you must have the procedure done in a hospital and anesthesia is required means you may be paying around the same amount as subperiosteal implants.

Blade-Form Dental Implants

Blade form dental implants are one of the first types of implants performed. This dental device uses thin metal plates to anchor the implant in the tooth socket. The blades are cut to fit snugly in the open area, so there is no need to wait for the bone to integrate the post. However, blade-form implants went out of style because they can be difficult to place. These implants can also cause bone and nerve damage, and may not be compatible with MRI technology.

These implants cost about the same as the popular endosseous implants. The price tag might be higher if you require other dental procedures or appliances such as bridges.

For more information about these or other types of implant options for restoring lost teeth, contact a dentist like Dale D. Lentz DDS.