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Dental implants can either be placed in the jaw bone (endosteal/endosseous), on the bone under the gums (subperiosteal), or through the jaw bone itself (transosteal.) The first two approaches are more common.

 

Endosteal/Endosseous Implants Subperiosteal Implants Transosteal Implants
 

This is the most common type of dental implant.

An endosteal implant is typically shaped like a screw and is placed into the jaw bone like the root of natural teeth. An abutment then connects this to the prosthesis above the gum.

Each implant can hold multiple prosthetic teeth, which can be used to replace bridges and dentures.

A subperiosteal implant is shaped like a saddle to enable it to be placed onto the bone instead of into the bone.

This type of implant is used most often to cover a large surface area, and where severe bone loss has made endosteal implants unfeasible.

Although most of the implant structure is under the gum tissue, posts (connectors) remain exposed above the gums.

The denture or partial bridge is then attached to these posts.

Transosteal implants require drilling through the jaw bone. The implants sit on a metal plate placed under the jaw and protrude through into the mouth to connect with the denture.

This is a highly invasive approach that requires extensive surgery. It is rarely used.