Mini Dental Implants
People looking for ways to replace missing teeth may have heard about dental implants when evaluating their treatment options. While suitable for most, dental implants may not be possible because of a person’s underlying medical conditions or an inability to undergo surgery. Fortunately, mini dental implants may offer a solution for these patients.
The efficacy of mini dental implants are the same as traditional implants but because of their smaller size, mini implants offer additional benefits, including a much less involved procedure. This article will examine the differences between mini and conventional dental implants, their requirements, and procedures.
With an estimated 178 million Americans missing one or more teeth, patients are naturally searching for restoration options. An increasingly popular remedy for replacing a lost tooth, dental implants offer a permanent replacement alternative to dentures or bridges. Dental implants can replace a single tooth or hold/support a full set of removable dentures. Dental implants are imbedded directly into the jawbone through a surgical procedure unlike conventional dentures that rest on the patient’s gums. Conventional dental implants are typically comprised of two pieces and have diameters of 3.25-5 millimeters.
Mini Dental Implants
While they share the same structures as conventional implants, mini dental implants are smaller in size. But unlike conventional dental implants, mini implants are a single piece with diameters less than 3 millimeters and have a ball-shaped tip which protrudes from the jaw.
Compared to conventional dental implants, the technique to place mini dental implants is less invasive. Conventional dental implants are placed under the gumline whereas mini implants are placed over the gums when placed in the jawbone. Because placing mini dental implants is less invasive, recovery time is less when compared to regular implants. Mini implants can typically be placed using local anesthesia in a single visit and do not require sutures whereas conventional implants require at least two visits and multiple months to heal. Additional procedures, such as a bone graft, may also be required to support regular implants.
Why Use Mini Implants?
In cases where regular implants are not suitable, using mini dental implants is implied. Often this is because the patient:
- Cannot undergo an invasive surgical procedure
- Does not have time for multiple dental visits
- Finds several months of healing and recovery to be unappealing
- Has insufficient jawbone density required to support a conventional dental implant
These reasons, and others, suggest the use of mini dental implants will rise. Cost is also influential in the rise in popularity of mini dental implants. A single traditional implant can cost between $1,500 to $6,000 whereas a mini implant typically costs $500 to $1,500 on average.
Mini Dental Implant Care
Mini dental implants should be cared for the same way as natural teeth. Mini implant patients should floss their teeth daily, brush twice a day, and maintain regular dentist checkups and cleanings. Should plaque and tartar accumulate, the dentist may recommend fluoride treatments, toothpastes, or special rinses. With proper care, mini dental implants can last the patient’s lifetime.