If your dentist has recommended that you have subperiosteal implants inserted to replace your missing teeth, then you might have a few questions. This is not the most common type of dental implant, so most patients are less familiar with it than with the more common endosteal implants. So that you know what to expect as you move forward with the procedure, here's a look at common questions about subperiosteal implants -- and their answers.
What does subperiosteal mean?
"Subperiosteal" means "on top of the bone." Whereas regular, endosteal dental implants are placed directly in the jaw bone, subperiosteal implants are placed on top of the jaw bone but beneath the gums. They are comprised of a cage-like metal framework that is placed over the arch of your jaw bone. Over time, your jaw bone anneals to the metal framework, making it stable. Crowns, or false teeth, are attached to little metal rods that protrude through the gums and are attached to this metal framework.
Why do you need this type of implant rather than a "normal" one?
Typically, subperiosteal implants are used for patients who do not have enough, or a strong enough, jaw bone to support a traditional implant. They may also be used for patients who have bone disorders, such as osteoporosis, which may inhibit a traditional implant from becoming properly embedded in the bone.
Is it easier to recover from having this type of implant?
If your doctor has recommended subperiosteal implants for you, one of the reasons is likely that your personal and bone health would likely make recovering from a regular implant procedure difficult or impossible. Thus, for you, personally, recovering from a subperiosteal implant will be easier.
Just as with traditional implants, subperiosteal implants do have some pain associated with recovery. Since the surgical process involves making incisions in your gums, you will have some tissue swelling and soreness for a few days to a few weeks after surgery. Your jaw may also be a bit sore, as your body must get used to having the metal plate between your gums and jaw bone. However, you won't experience the aching that regular dental implant patients experience, since your dentist has not drilled into your jaw bone.
Will you be able to feel the implant wiggling around on top of your jaw bone?
If your dentist has done a good job of properly measuring your jaw bone and fitting you with the implant, you should not feel any motion. In fact, you should not be aware of the presence of the plate at all, aside from a slightly "fuller" feeling in your gums, which should subside after a few weeks once your body adapts to the implant.
Why aren't subperiosteal implants more common?
Subperiosteal implants are an older style of dental implant. They can cause more complications, such as infection and the need for future alternations, than endosteal implants. Thus, dentists now tend to use endosteal implants whenever possible. However, this simply is not possible for all patients, and for those who cannot have endosteal implants, subperiosteal implants are a good, though not perfect, alternative.
What happens if your subperiosteal implants fail?
In some patients, the jaw bone fails to properly attach itself to the implanted metal plate. There are also cases in which the body does not tolerate the metal of the implant well, and infections and allergic reactions occur. If any of these rare situations happen to you, your dentist will remove the implant and recommend an alternative method of tooth replacement. Depending on your health and which teeth are missing, this could be dentures or a dental bridge.
Subperiosteal implants may not be so common anymore, but they do have their place. If your dentist has recommended this solution for your missing teeth, rest assured that he or she has your best interests in mind and will help you navigate the surgical process and recovery. For more information on your dental health, check out a place like Village Family Dental.