Dental implants are becoming more and more popular as dentists inform their patients of their advantages over other oral prosthetics. There are two main types of implants: endosteal and subperiosteal. The endosteal implant is the more common choice. However it requires a certain amount of bone for successful placement. The subperiosteal implant is a good alternative for the patient who does not want to undergo bone grafting to augment bone for an endosteal implant, or who cannot have a bone graft.
Subperiosteal means on the bone. A metal frame composed of cobalt, chrome and molybdenum, called surgical Vitallium, (the brand name for the alloy,) is placed directly on the jawbone beneath the gum tissue. The frame includes a post, which protrudes through the gum. The prosthetic, or crown, is fitted on the post to complete the process.
An Overview of the Subperiosteal Implant Procedure
This implant procedure is used on the lower jaw. In the majority of cases, patients who have this type of procedure have no lower teeth. In most other cases, the patients may have some of their anterior teeth, but the back teeth have been missing for years. In both cases the bone has lost enough height and density that an endosteal implant would not be possible.
The process begins with a thorough exam, including X-rays, to determine the condition of the bone and whether or not an implant is feasible. Once the determination is made that a subperiosteal implant is the correct choice, the next step is creation of the metal frame. This is done in one of two ways. One method involves taking a direct impression of the bone and crafting a model over which the frame is made. Alternatively, a CT scan may be used to create the model for the manufacture of the frame.
Once the metal frame is constructed, an incision is made in the gums and the frame is placed on the bone or above the bone under the connective tissue covering the bone, which is called the periosteum. The gums are then sutured back in place and allowed to heal over a period of time. Part of the healing process includes time for the metal frame to become attached to the jawbone. This fusing of bone to the framework can take about six months. Once the site is completely healed, the artificial tooth is attached to the post of the frame and the implant is complete.
Subperiosteal implants are often used to replace all the missing teeth on the lower jaw by providing attachment posts at strategic intervals so a removable denture can be inserted. Such dentures lock into place on the implants and can be unlocked and removed for cleaning.
This particular implant procedure takes time and precision. Good oral hygiene and regular checkups are required in order to ensure that the oral environment remains healthy and the implant area does not become infected or rejected by the body.
If you are missing teeth on your lower jaw and have an interest in having them replaced, the dentists at Village Park Family Dental will be happy to consult with you about your prospects for getting implants to restore your smile and ability to eat well. Contact us today for an appointment.