What Are Subperiosteal Dental Implants – And Who Is The Best Candidate For The Treatment?

Dental implants replace missing teeth and provide the look, feel, and some of the same oral health-promoting benefits of natural teeth. There are a few different types of dental implants, and each type has its own pros and cons that can help determine the best candidates for that particular treatment. Subperiosteal are one of the less-common types of dental implants but could still prove to be the right treatment route for your situation.

Here are some details about subperiosteal dental implants that can help you stay informed ahead of your next discussion with your cosmetic dentistry specialist.

What Are Subperiosteal Implants?

Traditional dental implants involve the dentist drilling a hole into your jawbone and then putting a metal root into that hole. The bone heals around the root to hold it in place and, after a lengthy healing process, the artificial crown is snapped on. A subperiosteal implant still has an artificial crown secured to a metal post, but the base is markedly different than a traditional implant.

The subperiosteal implant base is a metal plate that straddles the the top of the jawbone located just under the soft tissue of the gums, and is held into place by the gum tissue healing together over the plate. The gum tissue healing takes less time than the jawbone fusion of traditional implants, so the short treatment duration is a major selling point of the subperiosteal implants.

But there's another factor that can make subperiosteal implants the only implant option for some patients.

Pros: Don't Require Healthy Jawbone or Bone Graft

Traditional implants require healthy, dense jawbone so that the fusion can take place and securely hold in the root. If you have less dense bone, or missing jawbone due to decay or disease, the only possible way to receive a traditional implant is to undergo a bone graft, which adds even more time to the treatment process.

A subperiosteal implant does require a certain amount of jawbone width and general jawbone health, but the standards are much lower than what is required for a traditional dental implant. You won't need to undergo the lengthy bone graft procedure, but you will still end up with a natural-looking tooth.

Con: Not as Stable as Traditional Implant

The stable feeling of a traditional implant, which is most noticeable when chewing, comes from the tight fit of the jawbone supporting the tooth. A subperiosteal implant does not have the same degree of support.

The gum tissue holding the implant in place should still make the implant more secure than full dentures or other dental replacements that sit on top of the gums and potentially slide around, but a subperiosteal implant likely won't feel as natural as a traditional dental implant.