Mini Dental Implants
Here’s what you need to know about mini dental implants.
What Are They & What to Expect?
If you’re thinking about getting dental implants to replace missing teeth, you may not be aware that mini implants are available, thanks to advances in technology.
Mini dental implants provide an implant option if you want a less invasive procedure than regular dental implants. And if you don’t have enough bone in your jaw to take a standard implant, mini implants do away with the need for a bone graft.
Mini implants may also be your best choice if you have a smaller mouth or smaller teeth.
Like their big-brother regular dental implants, mini implants anchor artificial teeth that are highly functional and have a good success record and can replace a single missing tooth or several teeth.
Smaller Version of Conventional Implants
As the name indicates, mini dental implants (MDIs) are smaller than regular implants – about half the diameter. This is why they’re also known as small diameter implants (SDIs) or narrow diameter implants (NDIs).
While traditional dental implants are about 3.25-5mm in diameter –like a typical household screw – the diameter of mini implants is around 2.5mm– more like that of a toothpick.
Standard dental implants generally consist of two pieces – a titanium post and a connector (abutment) to hold the prosthetic tooth.
Different from a standard dental implant, the mini implant is one-piece with top of a mini implant protrudes through the gum to support replacement teeth – the titanium rod has a ball on the end and a socket with a rubber O-ring to attach the tooth.
How long do mini dental implants last?
Basically, mini dental implants don’t have a set lifespan. Because they haven’t been around as long as regular dental implants, less research is available. Nevertheless, people who’ve lost one or more teeth usually find that mini dental implants can last for years with proper care and regular dental check-ups.
As with many types of dental treatment, the effectiveness of mini implants varies from person to person.
For instance, lifestyle choices such as tobacco use and drinking alcohol can affect the condition of mini dental implants and lower their lifespan. Your unique bite pattern can also affect the durability of mini implants, but this problem can be resolved from the start by an experienced implant dentist.
Maintaining your mini dental implants:
Helping to extend the lifespan of your mini dental implants entails the same measures as looking after natural teeth:
- Having regular dental examinations and professional cleanings.
- Avoiding or cutting back on smoking and alcohol.
- Brushing your teeth and gums twice a day and flossing daily.
In addition, if you have diabetes you should make sure the condition is being controlled – excess sugar levels can affect the bone healing process after implant placement, which can destabilise the implant.
Pros & Cons of Mini Dental Implants
One of the big advantages of mini dental implants is less invasive surgery compared with standard-size implants. Mini implants can typically be placed with local anaesthetic in a single appointment without the need for stitches.
Other benefits of mini dental implants include:
- Helping to prevent facial collapse. Unlike conventional dentures, mini dental implants are artificial tooth roots that fuse with bone in your jaw. This avoids the issue of sagging facial features associated with standard dentures, which don’t provide the stimulus necessary to encourage bone growth.
- Better bite function. Mini implants give you a bite force far stronger than dentures – as powerful as your natural teeth.
- Lower cost. Mini implants are less expensive than standard implants because the procedure is less complicated.
Faster healing. Recovery time after getting mini dental implants is significantly less than that with regular dental implants.
The downside to mini dental implants
A downside of mini dental implants is that they might not last as long as standard implants, which are more durable. Mini implants also put more stress on the jaw bone because bite pressure is distributed over a smaller area.
Another drawback of mini implants is that the O-ring can become loose over time.
Mini dental implants have not been around in the market for as long as conventional dental implants, more research is needed in order to better understand this form of implants.
Am I A Suitable Candidate For Mini Dental Implants?
Mini dental implants can support crowns, bridges or dentures. They’re often used to replace front teeth and premolars and teeth in a tight space – many people who get mini implants have small mouths or small teeth.
Mini dental implants may be a better option than a conventional implant for various reasons, such as:
- You lack sufficient quantity of quality bone in your jaw to support a regular implant without a bone graft. This means mini implants can be a good option if you’ve delayed getting missing teeth replaced. Without the stimulus of a tooth root, the supporting bone will deteriorate over time.
- You’ve lost teeth through gum disease, which can also result in loss of jaw bone as bacteria gradually eat away at the bone and the ligaments that connect the bone to teeth.
If you’re missing teeth in your lower jaw, mini implants can secure a denture in the lower arch, where conventional dentures can become loose over time because of loss of jaw bone support.
Mini dental implants can also secure a denture in your upper jaw. While traditional upper dentures are usually fairly stable, mini implants can also be fitted in the upper arch to anchor a denture, as long as precautions are taken to ensure proper stability – bone in the upper jaw is softer.
Mini implants can also provide a short-term solution prior to permanent tooth replacement.
So, What’s Next?
Want to get your missing teeth replaced?
After weighing up the pros and cons of mini dental implants, implant dentists at NoFrills Dental and their patients conclude in many cases that mini implants can be a good tooth replacement option in terms of health benefits, functionality and appearance.
Mini dental implants may be small but they can make a big difference to your smile, offering a superior aesthetic alternative to traditional dentures. Mini implants not only look like your natural teeth – which restores your smile – they also work just as well, so you can talk and eat without feeling self-conscious.
While getting regular dental implants can be a lengthy process, with mini implants you can walk out of the dental clinic with your brand-new smile the same day.
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