Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that anchor a replacement tooth firmly in place. The most common type of dental implants are surgically implanted into your jawbone, but that isn't always an option. Sometimes, dental implants need to be embedded in the gum tissue instead of the jawbone. These implants are called subperiosteal implants. Here's what you need to know about them.
When are subperiosteal implants used?
Subperiosteal implants are used for people who aren't good candidates for the more common type of implants, such as people who have been missing all of their teeth for a long time. When you're missing all of your teeth, your jawbone weakens and shrinks, and there may not be enough bone left to support an implant. In cases like these, people need other procedures like bone grafts before they can get implants. Not everyone is a good candidate for bone grafting, and not everyone wants to go through that, and this is when subperiosteal implants are a great option.
How do dentists insert these implants?
The first step in creating subperiosteal dental implants is to take an impression of your jawbone. Your dentist can do this by taking a direct impression of your mouth with dental impression putty, but the impression can also be created with CT scan-generated images. Your dentist will then use this impression to create the metal framework that will support your implants. Once the framework is ready, it will be surgically embedded beneath your gums. Posts attached to the framework will remain above your gums.
Once the tissue around the framework as healed, your replacement teeth will be attached to the posts, and your procedure will be finished.
How do subperiosteal implants stay in place?
Subperiosteal implants are supported by a metal framework. The metal framework is custom-fitted to your mouth, and is placed beneath your gum tissue, and on top of your jawbone. Since it is custom-fitted, it hugs the jawbone tightly and remains in place.
How effective are subperiosteal dental implants?
Studies have shown that this type of dental implant is very effective. One study followed 40 people with subperiosteal dental implants between 1982 and 2000. At the end of the study, all but one of the study participants still had their implants in place and reported no pain or dissatisfaction with their implants.
If you've been told that you're not a good candidate for dental implants due to a weak jawbone, ask your dentist if subperiosteal dental implants are right for you.