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If you are a denture wearer, you will be all too familiar with the suffering and discomfort associated with painful dentures that do not stay in place when eating and talking. This can cause mental and physical suffering and may also lead to loss of self confidence.
Dental implantology is a new branch of dentistry, and involves the reconstruction of missing teeth and their supporting structures with natural or synthetic (alloplastic, allogenic or autogenous) substitutes.
Even if they are constructed to the highest possible specifications, there are many problems associated with dentures and conventional restorations (e.g. construction of dental bridges require cutting and grinding of usually healthy adjacent teeth). Once the natural teeth are lost, the bone in which they were embedded begins to shrink. This process, known as bone atrophy (similar to muscle wasting when limbs are no longer used) can alter facial appearance and may necessitate the periodic replacement of dentures. Bone loss often leads to functional and cosmetic deterioration of the oral and dental structures.
Yet, thanks to an accidental discovery, innovation, scientific study and recent developments in biomaterials, dental and medical sciences, the suffering endured by people who wear dentures, is no longer necessary.
In 1952, Professor Per-Ingvar Branemark, a Swedish surgeon, whilst conducting research into the healing patterns of bone tissue, accidentally discovered that when pure titanium comes into direct contact with the living bone tissue, the two literally grow together to form a permanent biological adhesion. He named this phenomenon "osseointegration". Today, modern dental implants, developed from the principles of osseointegration are routinely used in hundreds of clinics and hospitals world-wide, and sought after by thousands of patients because they have been proven to provide comfortable, permanent and attractive tooth replacements as an alternative to removable dentures and conventional bridges.
Over the past 20 years, Dental Implants have undergone remarkable changes. Many clinicians designed implants to fit certain needs and properties. Some of those designs had only a short application period, whereas others survived to this very day. Dental implants vary in several aspects, such as shape, place of anchorage (within the bone or on top of the bone), composition, coatings, etc.
Endosseous Implants are implants that are surgically inserted into the jawbone.
Subperiosteal Implants are implants, which typically lie on top of the jawbone, but underneath your gum tissues. The important distinction is that they usually do not penetrate into the jawbone.
Transosseous Implants are implants, which are similar in definition to Endosseous implants in that they are surgically inserted into the jawbone. However, these implants actually penetrate the entire jaw so that they actually emerge opposite the entry site, usually at the bottom of the chin. This is also the site, where they are secured with a device similar to a nut and a pressure plate. It is very similar to a nut and bolt arrangement in ordinary wood carpentry.
Endosseous Implants are the most frequently used implants today. They could be further categorized into several sub-categories; based on their shape, function, surgical placement and surface treatment.