More than half of Americans are missing at least one of their teeth, reports the American College of Prosthodontists. Luckily, these missing teeth can be replaced with dental implants. In some cases, your dentist may recommend a subperiosteal implant.
What Are Subperiosteal Implants?
Subperiosteal implants are placed underneath the gums but on top of the jawbone. The periodontist or oral surgeon will fit a metal frame into your jawbone, and may also use a nonresorbable articial bone, as the gum tissue that covers the frame heals, the frame will become fixed in place. Once the frame becomes fixed, artificial teeth will be mounted onto the posts that extend from the frame. This type of implant is used in cases of shrunken jaw bones where an endosteal implant (an osseo-integrated implant that is placed in the jawbone) isn't suitable.
Subperiosteal implants can be used for people who have a shallow jawbone and don't want to — or aren't able to — undergo a bone grafting procedure to rebuild the bone to get endosteal implants, explains the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.
Procedure and Recovery
Subperiosteal implants are placed during two separate surgical appointments, explains the textbook, Renaissance of the Subperiosteal Implant: Volume II. At the first appointment, your dental specialist will take an impression of your jawbone, and this impression will be used to create the frame that will support the implants. At the second visit, the frame will be surgically placed into the jawbone.
Healing should take about four to five weeks, and after you've healed, you may need to return to your dental specialist for periodic follow-up appointments. At these appointments, your specialist will evaluate your implants and make the necessary adjustments.
Caring for Your Implants
Your dental implants need to be cared for like you would care for your natural teeth. Removing plaque and food from your implants helps to keep your gums and your natural teeth healthy. Brush twice a day with a toothpaste that fights germs for 12 hours, such as Colgate Total Advanced Deep Clean and don't forget to floss!
A single dental implant can cost between $3,000 and $4,500, though prices will vary depending on your location and your dental specialist's experience. This price also doesn't include the procedures that may be necessary before an implant can be placed. For example, you need to have healthy gums to get dental implants, so if you have gum disease, your dentist or dental hygienist will conduct a professional cleaning prior to the placement of a subperiosteal implant.
There are many resources that can help make your dental implant more affordable. A nearby dental school may perform dental implant surgeries at a reduced cost. You may also be eligible for assistance from a nonprofit organization. Your own dentist may offer discounts or payment plans.
Your dentist can help you determine the best way to replace your missing tooth so you can regain confidence in your smile.