Dental Implant Options
First, off what types of implants are on the market today.
- Traditional or Root Bound Implants- these are the most common and most used. These are the type of implant that is used for single tooth replacement, dental implant 3 unit bridge, snap on dentures, and all on four permanent dental implants. Typical brands are Nobel Biocare, Astra, Straumann, and Zimmer, 3I, and bio-horizons. These brands are the top on the market.
- Zygoma – these implants are used in the top jaw only (maxilla) and they are used in special situations. These types of implants constitute less then 1% of all dental implants placed. Zygoma implants are 55 mm in length on average, compared to traditional impants that range from 8.5-18mm. These type of implants engage the zygoma bone that is near the orbit and is lateral to the sinuses. The same top dental implant companies make the zygoma implants. The zygoma implant is only used for full arch screw retained restorations similar to the All on Four.
- Mini Dental implants. These type of implants are on the market and are growing in use, however it is my feeling (shared by many others as well) that they are over utilized. For my practice, we typically only offer mini implants by request only, reserve them for patients who are in a denture already, and who are 75 and older. Mini dental implants are typically 1.8mm in diameter or 2.4mm in diameter. These are ½ the diameter or less then traditional root bound implants. There are limited long-term studies on mini dental implants, their success rate is much lower, and you can only have a snap on implant denture. Also, immediate placement of the min implant is not possible – you need a healed jawbone prior to mini implant placement.
Secondly, there are different brands of implants. All are FDA approved, however they range from top of the line costing dentists a lot of money, to some being in or close to 2 digits. The saying goes “You get what you pay for” and I agree wit that. Any implant will integrate into the bone, however it is the restorative options, ease of use, and fit of the components that make one implant brand far better. Thread design and R & D are the other items that come to mind about the benefits of the more expensive implants. Simply put, Teeth in a Day is not possible with lower cost implants, there is not good quality surface technology and thread design to make this possible.
- Top Tier – Nobel Biocare. This is what we exclusively place. It is what would go into my mouth and is what is in the mouths of my family members. Hands down these are the most expensive implants on the market, have the best components, best restorative options, and the best R and D. They with Dr. Palo Malo invented the All on Four Concept in 1993! Other top tier – are Straumann and Astra.
- Middle Teir- Bio Horizons, Zimmer, Biomet 3I. These are good implants, I have placed a few, but they are more traditional and don’t have as many options for molars, they are not into teeth in a day, so their current implant design has not changed for 10+ years. There have been some big changes in implant dentistry in the past 5 years so these companies are missing out.
- Discount, Copy or Foreign. – To me these are amateur implants and should be what you receive if you go to Mexico. Unfortunately, I know many other DDS’ around here placing these and even some specialists. The brands are: Mega-gen, Hiosen, Implant Direct, and too many more to name. Here the restorative parts just don’t fit together as well. Their thread pattern is copied of other successful implants, so they cant claim they came up with the idea. As a prospective patient, I would reconsider your choice of dental implant doctor if any of these names are brought up. They are simply cutting corners and not offering you the best in my opinion.
Types of dental implant prosthesis:
- Snap on Lower Implant Denture- This is a rather common treatment solution for patients where simply placing 2 implants in the anterior mandible, we are able to secure a lower implant denture. This affords patients the ability to have increased bite force, security and stability. It is also more affordable then the All on Four. The disadvantages are that “time to teeth” is 4-5 months versus the All on Four being the Same Day. The prosthesis its self in a snap on is larger- similar to the size of a denture.
- Snap On Upper Implant Dentures- While this is an option on the market, it is not that common, nor is it a great solution. As having an office where we do lots of denture repairs for the general public, I can tell you that the more unhappy patients with their results were these patients with snap on upper dentures. Luckily these were not my patients, but it instilled a notion that I have knew all along- I can not meet patients expectations with upper snap on dentures. Therefore, I only propose either an upper denture or All on Four.
- Permanent Dental Implants – All on Four
This is the best solution, most studied solution, longest lasting solution, and fastest solution.