Regular dental implants are great for most cases, but mini implants are another option for patients who don’t want (or can’t have) the conventional restoration. Regular implants require a few different factors for success including being able to properly heal from invasive surgery and having the bone mass necessary in their jaws to hold the news metal posts once inserted. Mini implants allow more flexibility for people who need something more customized but still want the look of beautiful natural teeth.
What are Mini Dental Implants?
Mini dental implants have the same structure as regular implants but are just smaller all around, making them much less intimidating than their counterparts. They allow patients to be able to have implants without the need of a bone graft, which can take up to six months to heal completely and may not always be successful.
The implant comes in two parts: a tiny titanium rod that has the diameter of a toothpick with a small ball on the end for O-rings to attach to so the replacement tooth can eventually be put into place.
The surgical procedure is similar as incisions will still be made into your gums so the jawbone can be exposed with the help of local anesthesia. Your dentist will then have to drill to the bone to be able to place the implant, and will stitch the area closed, leaving a small area exposed above the gums. While the implant is healing, you will be provided with temporary teeth so nothing gets damaged. Because of the size difference, the procedure time and healing period are reduced – we can usually get everything done in one day– allowing you to be able to get your replacement teeth finished in a much shorter time.
How are they different?
A mini implant doesn’t require as much bone mass of osseointegration to happen. Because of this, people that are suffering from bone loss or are at risk for it have another option besides dentures.
Their size is also great for fitting into smaller areas of the mouth or as stabilizers for dentures, which do eventually become loose and slide around your gums no matter what is done for them.
The issue patients have had with mini implants is that they don’t last as long and eventually move around the gums, causing embarrassment and pain. They don’t have anything holding them down tightly beyond the surrounding bone and gum tissue, and if this happens to you, you will of course have to be in for additional procedures to fix the issue.
On the other hand, regular implants do provide more stability overall and are a solution made to last because of their bigger size and construction, even though they do cost more than mini implants. Screws and abutments are used to help anchor the implant down, resulting in a life expectancy of 20 years or more with the ability to be painless and just like natural teeth as long as you take great care of them.
When are they needed?
Bone loss is a severe, yet common issue we see daily with people who have missing teeth. For many, the regular implants are an option they have but for others who don’t have enough bone mass to support the material, mini implants work better as they don’t require as much from the mouth. If you also need to get smaller teeth replaced but don’t want to get the extensive work done from regular implants, mini ones are your best option in this case.
One of the major advantages of mini implants is that patients can still get a superior structure built by distributing the weight over a set of four to six smaller implants instead. By adding more anchoring points, your chances for a long-lasting smile is even great, but this also means surgery becomes more complex and the healing time will become longer as expected. Even if you have to go through a bit more down time, these implants will only help you and you’ll be able to see immediate differences in your appearance and how your teeth will function as they continue to heal.