Luckily, when you have damaged or missing teeth you have options on how to treat them. You could opt for a bridge or crown to fix chipped or damaged teeth, or you could have either partial or full dentures made. You do have another option: dental implants.

What types of dental implants are there? Should you get them or stick to dentures or a bridge? The answer lies in your preference and how healthy your gums are.

What Are Endosteal Implants?

The first type of implant is called Endosteal implants. These implants are surgically placed into the jawbone itself. This is done if you have enough jawbone to support the posts of the implants. The dentist will wait until your gums have healed after placing the implant's supports and will then attach the posts to the implant.

Once that has a chance to heal, an artificial tooth or multiple teeth will be attached to the post. If you require multiple teeth, a bridge or denture fixture will be used. If you have a single tooth, it will be attached to the post directly.

What Are Subperiosteal Implants?

The second type of dental implant you have the option of is Subperiosteal implants. This type of implant has a metal frame–not unlike braces—that is fitted to your jawbone just under the surface of your gum tissue. When your gums heal, this frame will fix itself to your jawbone creating security.

The dentist will then attach posts to the frame that will come through your gums. Once your gums heal, artificial teeth will be attached to those posts.

Should You Get Implants?

Implants tend to be more secure and create a better chewing environment and comfortable fit than dentures or bridges do.

Dentures can shift and even fall out of place while chewing or talking. They may need to be fitted several times before they are correct and will eventually need to be replaced.

Bridges must rely on surrounding teeth for stability. Typically they are attached to the neighboring teeth to anchor them in place and provide security. This can damage the teeth around the bridge creating more of a problem than you had before.

Implants, in contrast, don't need to rely on neighboring teeth to anchor them in place and they don't shift when you eat or talk. They tend to have a longer lifespan than dentures as well. In order for you to be able to have dental implants, however, your gums must be healthy and your jawbone must have enough density in the bone to attach the posts. Talk to a dentist to see if dental implant services are right for you.