Dental Implants

  • Medical Author:
    Donna S. Bautista, DDS

    Dr. Donna S. Bautista, DDS, completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, San Diego with a bachelor of arts in biochemistry and cell biology. During her time at UC San Diego, she was involved in basic research including studying processes related to DNA transcription in the field of molecular biology. Upon graduation, she went on to attend dental school at the University of California, San Francisco. In addition to her formal dental training, she provided dental care for underserved communities in the Bay Area through clinics and health fairs. She also worked toward mentoring high school students interested in the field of dentistry.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Quick GuideCosmetic Dentistry Before and After Photos

Cosmetic Dentistry Before and After Photos

What types of doctors specialize in dental implants?

Dental implant surgery can be performed by any licensed dentist provided that the treatment follows the standard of care and is in the best interest of the patient. However, since implants are surgically placed in the jawbone, dental specialists who routinely perform surgery within the jawbone are the natural fit for implant surgery. Oral maxillofacial surgeons (oral surgeons) treat all hard and soft-tissue diseases or defects, which includes extraction of teeth and jaw surgeries. Periodontists treat disease of the surrounding structures of teeth such as the gum and jawbone. Both oral surgeons and periodontists often specialize in dental implant placement.

Once the implant has integrated fully into the jawbone, the next phase involves placement of the implant crown that will be supported by the implant. This is typically performed by the general dentist or a prosthodontist (dental specialist focused on tooth replacement).

What are the different types of dental implants? What are the different uses for implants?

Historically, there have been two different types of dental implants: (1) endosteal and (2) subperiosteal.

Endosteal refers to an implant that is "in the bone," and subperiosteal refers to an implant that rests on top of the jawbone under the gum tissue. Subperiosteal implants are no longer in use today because of their poor long-term results in comparison to endosteal dental implants.

While the primary function of dental implants is for teeth replacement, there are areas in which implants can assist in other dental procedures. Due to their stability, dental implants can be used to support a removable denture and provide a more secure and comfortable fit. In addition, for orthodontics procedures, dental mini-implants can act as temporary anchorage devices (TADs) to help move teeth to a desired position. These mini-implants are small and temporarily fixed to bone while assisting in anchorage for teeth movement. They are subsequently removed after their function has been served.

Will someone feel pain when getting a dental implant?

Dental implant surgery is usually performed under local anesthetic, and therefore, no pain should be felt during the procedure. After the local anesthetic has worn off, the post-surgery discomfort will vary with each individual case. However, in general, most people will feel discomfort similar to a tooth extraction afterward. This pain typically can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). More invasive surgery may require a stronger prescription pain medication.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/12/2016

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors