Although most dental implants are made of titanium, the surface — which affects the long-term integration and stability of treatment — can vary. A porous surface contributes to more bone contact than a machined titanium surface. Other surfaces include a grit-blasted or acid-etched and roughened surface, a microgrooved or plasma-sprayed titanium surface, and a plasma-sprayed hydroxyapatite coating.
Implants also may be categorized based on the shape/type of their head. All implants require the restoration and abutment to be attached or screwed to the head. For this purpose, there are three main connector types:
Internal Hex Connectors: Shaped like a hexagon, an internal hex connector is an opening in the implant head into which the restoration/abutment is screwed.
External Hex Connectors: Also shaped like a hexagon, these connectors are atop the implant head.
Internal Octagon Connectors: Shaped like an octagon, an internal octagon connector has an opening in the implant head into which the restoration/abutment is screwed.
Another way to categorize implants is based on their size (also called platform), which dictates where they generally can be placed in the mouth. However, every case is different, and individual spacing and bone availability needs may dictate the use of a different size.
Standard Platform: Standard dental implants range in size from 3.5 mm to 4.2 mm in diameter. These comparatively shorter and narrower implants are most commonly placed toward the front of the mouth.
Wide Platform: Wide platform dental implants range in size from 4.5 mm to 6 mm in diameter and are placed primarily in the back of the mouth.
Mini or Narrow Body: Mini or narrow body dental implants range in size from 2 mm to 3.5 mm in diameter and are placed primarily in patients with insufficient space between their tooth roots to accommodate a larger size. They also may be placed when the patient has insufficient bone density.