The Ins And The Unders Of Dental Implants: Understanding The Two Different Types Of Dental Implants

If you're considering dental implants, your dentist will usually tell you that there are two different options: under–the–gum implants and in–the–jaw implants. The one that is best for you depends on several different factors, including the health of your gums and your tolerance for complicated dental surgery. Read on to find out the key differences between under–the–gum implants and in–the–jaw implants.

Under–the–Gum Implants

The simplest kind of dental implants are those that are placed underneath the gums, but atop the bone. These dental implants are made of a metal, typically titanium. The dentist or dental surgeon will make incisions in the gum during the dental implant procedure so that the base for the dental implant can be placed. This base, a thin disc, has a threaded pointed end that protrudes through the gum.

The dentist will then place stitches all around the incision to hold the base into place as firmly as possible. Then, the replacement tooth is screwed onto the point. Once the tooth is turned several times, it should be completely flush with the gums, just as a natural tooth would be.

Who it Works For: This type of dental implant can work well for people who want the easiest possible dental implant procedure. People who opt for the under–the–gum implants need to be willing to use extra caution when brushing and eating since this type of implant can shift.

Who Should Avoid It:  You need a good amount of healthy strong gum tissue to get this kind of implant, so if your gums are receding or if you have gum disease it might be best to consider in–the–jaw implants instead, since they don't rely so much on gum strength.

In–the–Jaw Implants

The in–the–jaw implants are made from the same material as under–the–gum implants: A dental grade titanium. However, these implants are much more complicated to install. The dentist will make incisions in the gums to access the bone beneath. They will then use a fine bit dental drill to make a hole going to the base of the jaw.

The support framework for the implant will be placed in the hole, and then capped with the same type of disc/threaded point that is used in the under–the–gum implant. As with the under–the–gum implant, the replacement tooth is threaded into place until it's flush with the gums.

Who it Works For: This kind of dental implant is good for people who want the strongest and most durable kind of implant. If you're looking to get dental implants that function as much as possible like natural teeth, this may be the best bet.

Who Should Avoid It:  If you dread dental surgery, this might not be a good choice. Both the surgery and the recovery are more complicated than the under–the–gum implant surgery. Talk to your dentist about which of these options might work best for you!