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Traditional Dental Implants Vs Mini Dental Implants

Natural-looking regular dental implants have become a popular alternative to conventional dentures and bridges – on the grounds of aesthetics, comfort and convenience.

Mini dental implants can give you all these benefits as well, while providing an option when standard implants may not be possible.

Both standard-size dental implants and mini implants hold many advantages over more traditional tooth replacement systems. They restore your smile more effectively because they look like real teeth – or even better – and they provide a high level of long-lasting functionality.

But, if you’ve suffered tooth loss, which is your better option? Let’s find out by looking at the differences between and similarities of regular dental implants and mini implants, to help you make an informed decision.

dental implants vs dental bridge

Similarities of Traditional Dental Implants and Mini Dental Implants

Regular dental implants and mini implants share several characteristics and perform the same functions.

They both have a titanium post that’s surgically inserted into the gum to hold a prosthetic tooth or teeth. Titanium is a strong but lightweight metal that’s compatible with the human body and therefore won’t prompt a reaction from the immune system.

The titanium rod becomes a permanent fixture of your jaw – an artificial tooth root with a big advantage over traditional dentures.

While standard dentures can lead to bone deterioration due to lack of stimulus from a tooth root, dental implants actually encourage bone growth. This helps to maintain facial structure – and your smile.

Besides restoring your smile and your self-esteem, regular dental implants and mini implants also:

  • Give you a much stronger bite than conventional dentures.
  • Provide stability for surrounding natural teeth.
  • Last for years if you take proper care of them.

In this article, So, if mini dental implants do the same job as standard implants, what, you may be asking, is the point of them? The answer is…

What Makes Mini Dental Implants Different

traditional implant size vs mini implant size

Mini dental implants can provide an effective teeth replacement solution when regular implants can’t.

They’re able to do this because of their smaller size. Regular implants have a diameter of 3.25 to 5 millimetres. Mini implants have a diameter of less than 3mm.  

Mini implants are also constructed slightly differently from regular dental implants.

A traditional dental implant usually comprises the titanium post and an abutment to hold the artificial tooth.

The mini version has a ball-shaped end that protrudes from the jaw bone, with a rubber O-ring to hold the tooth.

Problems with Jaw Bone Loss

jaw bone loss

If you’re healthy enough to have a routine tooth extraction, you’re a potential candidate for a regular dental implant, whether you’ve lost one tooth, several teeth or all your teeth. However, there are some exceptions.

For example, to have a regular dental implant your jaw has to be fully developed, with a sufficient quantity of quality bone to anchor the implant. If there’s a problem with this, a bone graft may provide the solution.

Dental Implant Bone Grafts

You may need a bone graft ahead of implant placement if bone in your jaw has been compromised. This typically happens when:

  • You’ve not replaced a missing tooth – there’s no tooth root to stimulate bone growth.
  • Bone resorption occurs with wearing conventional dentures over time.
  • Gum disease has attacked bone and ligaments as well as gum tissue.

How to Avoid a Bone Graft

A bone graft is a lengthy, costly procedure that entails more surgery in addition to implant placement.

A bone graft can be avoided with mini dental implants, which also come into their own in several other circumstances when regular implants are unable to provide an effective tooth replacement solution.

lady with dental implants smiling while writing on her red booklet

When Mini Dental Implants Could Be a Better Option

Not everyone is suitable for standard-size dental implants. That’s why mini implants came into being – to address the shortcomings of standard implants.

Because mini implants can fit in smaller spaces, they’re often used to replace smaller teeth like incisors and premolars.

In other cases, mini implants provide an effective solution if you have a medical condition that could raise questions over standard-sized implants

When deciding whether regular implants are right for you, your dentist will consider various factors that can affect how well an implant will fuse to jaw bone and how efficiently your mouth will heal.

These considerations include your medical history and current state of general health. Medical conditions that may indicate mini implants could be a better option include:

  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Connective-tissue disorder
  • Significant immune deficiencies
  • Haemophilia, which impedes blood clotting

If there are problems with the volume of bone in your jaw, mini implants give you a way to avoid a bone graft – and the surgery it entails – that would be necessary for standard implants.

Mini implants can do this because they don’t need to be fully embedded in the jaw bone, although they still give you an effective artificial tooth root, like regular-size implants.

Pros and Cons of Mini Dental Implants

dental implant in a day

Advantages of Mini Implants

Mini-implants have all the advantages of regular implants. However, because mini implants are so narrow, the procedure for placing them is much less invasive than with larger implants.

This means faster healing time and less discomfort, with minimal damage to the soft tissue around the implants, and usually no need for stitches.

The artificial teeth on mini implants can often be fitted immediately – with regular implants, there’s typically a waiting period of several months.

Another advantage of mini implants is a financial one: mini implants tend to be less expensive than regular implants, and can avoid the extra expense of a bone graft.

Downside of Mini Implants

While mini implants often provide a solution when there are problems with jaw bone, one type of bone issue could rule them out – inadequate vertical bone, often caused by gum disease.

And you might not be a good candidate for mini dental implants if you habitually grind your teeth, which can wear down the implants.

happy man with dental bridge

Traditional Dental Implants or Mini Dental Implants: Making Your Decision

Regular dental implants and mini dental implants each have their own advantages and drawbacks, depending on your specific case.

Whether an implant is right for you, and which type would be better, depends largely on the condition of your mouth.

To make a truly informed decision on whether you’re a suitable candidate for dental implants, and which type would be most beneficial, you need to speak to an experienced dental surgeon experienced in implants.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

If you’ve lost a tooth or are missing several teeth, an experienced Singapore dental implant dentist will be able to help you decide which type of implant is right for you.

When deciding whether regular implants are right for you, your dentist will consider various factors that can affect how well an implant will fuse to jaw bone and how efficiently your mouth will heal. These considerations include your medical history and current state of general health.

If there are problems with the volume of bone in your jaw, mini implants give you a way to avoid a bone graft – and the surgery it entails – that would be necessary for standard implants.

NoFrills Dental is always on hand if you want expert advice on which dental implant type is suitable to meet all your requirements and restore your smile.

At the end of the day, we believe that the right dentist for you is the one who will lay out all your treatment options on the table, allowing you to make informed decisions, while ensuring that your entire treatment process is as enjoyable, comfortable and hassle-free as possible. Good communication between you and your dentist is the best way to ensure a smooth and successful treatment.

In addition, please only proceed with the treatment if you are fully comfortable with the treatment plan proposed by your provider.

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