A Look at the Types of Dental Implants

It may surprise you to learn that the idea of dental implants dates back as far as 1,350 years ago. An excavated Mayan burial site in Honduras unearthed the remains of a woman believed to be in her twenties, with three shells placed where her lower incisor teeth should have been, and compact bone formation surrounding them. In modern times, dental implants have evolved into three different types, based on their placement on the jaw. They are designed to fuse with the jawbone in order to support a dental prosthesis, such as implant-supported bridges and dentures.

Dental Implant Choices

Most dental implants are made of titanium. Endosseous (or endossteal) implants, also known as root form implants, are usually shaped like a screw. The word endosseous comes from the Greek prefix endo, or “in”, and osseous, or “bone”. The post is placed within the upper or lower jawbone, and acts like an actual tooth root. The bone fuses with the surface of the implant, effectively giving you a titanium tooth root.

Transosteal (“through the bone”) implants, or plate form implants, are used if the jawbone is too narrow for a bone graft. The plate form implant is flat, long, and usually U-shaped in order to pass through the jawbone and gum tissue and into the mouth. If your jawbone lacks the height and width for either a root form or plate form implant, we may recommend a subperiosteal (“on top of the bone”) implant, which consists of metal framework that is custom made to sit on top of your jawbone but underneath your gums.

To determine if dental implants are right for you, and which kind would offer the most benefits, we will perform a thorough examination to inspect the state of your jawbone and oral health.


Shawn Hofkes, DDS, is highly qualified to address complex issues, including the diagnosis and treatment of destructive gum disease. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today by calling 562-584-4082. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.