What type of dental implant system should you use?This is a common question which patients ask us. Lets explain what makes up a dental implant and then we will explain briefly some differences between different implant systems.
A dental implant usually consists of three parts.
the dental implant ( also called the fixture ) this is made of titanium and is inserted into the jaw bone. The fixture is usually cylindrical and has some threads which make it resemble a small screw. Dental implants or fixtures vary greatly from one another. Most implants are made of a metal called titanium. Some clinicians do use implants made of Zirconia however this is a relatively new alternative and there is a lot less research conducted on this material as a real alternative to titanium implants. The choice of titanium implants is also vastly wider as they have been around for many years.
Implants are made of titanium. Some are made of commercially pure titanium and others are made of titanium alloy. Many of the initial implant designs were made out of commercially pure titanium however titanium alloy has been more popular in recent years as its generally stronger than commercially pure titanium and offers comparable bone integrating properties.
Implants can vary in shape. Naturally most implant companies produce a wide variety of widths and lengths of implants specific for the application of where they are needed. Small spaces or smaller teeth may require a smaller implant. Conversely larger spaces may require a wider and longer implant.
Most modern implants have threads which allow the implant to be inserted into the jaw bone. Some companies produce implants with very small or ‘gentle’ threads while others produce implants which have far more aggressive threads. Some companies produce both kinds as some surgeons prefer implants with gentle smaller threads while other surgeons prefer implants with more aggressive threads.
Some implant designs have few single threads while other implant designs have many double lead threads or even quadruple lead threads.
Some implant designs are perfectly cylindral , some are tapered while others are cylindrical and conical. A great variation in implant shape exists again to cater for the preference of the implant surgeon. Some implant shapes are more appropriate for areas of bone where density is high while other shapes are preferred where bone is less dense or soft.
The surface of the implant also varies from one implant brand to the other. Some implant companies have roughened surfaces along the whole length of the implant while others have only part of the surface roughened. Some surfaces are etched with fluoride while other surfaces are sandblasted with small particles called hydroxy-apatite while others are etched by means of a laser.
The implant has two ends. The end which is inserted first into the bone known as the apex can also vary greatly between different implant brands. Some may be pointed, others completely flat, some rounded.
The opposite end of the implant is known as the head of the implant or base or platform. Several different shapes or connections exist which allow the future abutment to be connected to the implant. Some companies prefer to use an external connection while others use an internal connection. Some of the more popular implant brands use mainly internal connection and these vary in shape from hexagon, octogon, triangular or perfectly round
Some implants have abutments which connect to the implant by means of screws others connect without screws.
So having mentioned only briefly how different implant systems can be one begins to understand that a lot of variation exists between implant brands and their designs.
Generally most implant systems work well today. Each of the implant brands have their advantages and their disadvantages. No implant system is perfect and caters for all clinical situations.
Most implant systems have high success rates hence its not as important as one may think what type of implant is used. What is more important is what system the implant surgeon feels comfortable using and what system he or she has had predictable results with.
For more information please feel free to Contact Brighton Implant Clinic or Call us on 0800 111 6623.