Mini dental implants are an innovation in the dental world. They are becoming more and more popular with each day. Are they right for you?
Read our detailed run-down of who can get mini dental implants, what their downsides are, and why they are getting so much attention. The information presented below has been verified by our dental team.Creative Commons
How are mini dental implants different from the traditional ones?
You may be on the fence whether to get traditional or mini dental implants. It is mostly up to your dentist to decide which is best in your case. On the other hand, it’s good to come for an initial consultation informed enough to know the key differences.
Size of the implant
Mini dental implants are smaller than the traditional kind. First of all, they are made of just two parts: a post and the crown. Traditional implants are composed of the screw, abutment connection, and the prosthetic crown.
In terms of the actual size, mini dental implants are 1.8 mm to 3.3 mm in diameter. Regular ones are 3.4 mm to 7 mm in width. Lengths are comparable.
Mini dental implants can usually be installed in just one day under local anesthesia. The surgery takes about 2 hours. There are no sutures to be removed later.
After that, implants are surgically placed. About 2 weeks later, an abutment can be added. Then it’s time for osseointegration, which, again, can take months. You may be able to wear temporary replacements at this time. The whole process can last up to 2 years in total.
Fake teeth are most often mounted on mini implants straight away. Patients can leave the office with a new smile that they can start to use right away. Any soreness usually disappears within 48 hours. You are likely to be able to eat that night.
Sticking to soft foods for a few days after surgery is always a good idea. With traditional implants, it is the only way.
Dental implant recovery can be a complicated process when regular implants are inserted. Some patients quote feeling more discomfort during this time than at the time of the surgery. Recovery can take weeks if not months. You are likely to feel slight pain for up to 10 days.
Nonetheless, patients should do their best to conduct proper aftercare. This helps alleviate soreness and ensure longevity of both mini dental implants and the traditional ones. Dental implant failure is almost always caused by patient noncompliance.
Dentist error may happen. Make sure to go with someone who has a lot of experience with this type of restoration.
Durability and longevity
Both traditional and mini implants are composed of titanium alloy. This material is one of the strongest ones used in medicine. It is also biocompatible, which means bone fuses with it directly.
Studies show that the length of the implant is more important than the diameter when it comes to stability. This is why this is comparable in both types. Some dentists still argue that minis are not able to withstand as much chewing force.
Traditional implants have been studied in-depth, as they have been in use for more than 50 years. They are considered a long term solution to missing teeth. Mini dental implants have not been on the market for as long and have thus not been as thoroughly researched.
They are still getting a lot of recognition for the success dentists have been able to achieve with them so far.
What is the cost of mini dental implants?
The prices for mini dental implants are between $500 and $1,500. The discrepancy can be explained due to a number of factors. These include:
- the complexity and duration of the procedures,
- affordability of materials, and
- the type of anesthesia needed.
Nevertheless, expenses for mini dental implants are still much lower than the regular implants cost.
Note the values mentioned above do not include procedures such as bone augmentation. Since those are rarely needed with mini dental implants, further money can be saved.
What benefits do mini dental implants have?
Mini dental implants may be the only solution for some patients. That doesn’t mean they are a last result, as they still have many benefits over the traditional process.
First of all, there is no complicated surgery involved in the process. Mini dental implants can be inserted in one day. Patients walk out with a restored smile after a single visit.
Secondly, the recovery period is mild and short. The procedure is not as invasive as the traditional process, which means healing happens faster and more efficiently. You may not even need painkillers after the surgery.
There is no need for bone grafting or sinus lifting either. Since mini dental implants require less jawbone volume, patients often don’t need augmentation procedures even if they have suffered bone loss.
What’s more, mini dental implants stimulate bone just as traditional ones do. Thanks to this, bone does not undergo resorption like with other replacement options such as dentures. This eliminates the need for relining or bone augmentation in the future.
And lastly, there is less of a risk of complications such as nerve damage. Mini dental implants are smaller and therefore it is easier to plan their placement. Avoiding nerves makes the recovery more bearable, too.
What are disadvantages of mini dental implants?
Nonetheless, it’s good to be aware of the downsides. Here are the most important disadvantages of mini dental implants.
Firstly, they cannot be used in areas with little vertical bone. Mini dental implant screws are quite long to ensure stability. This means they need adequate volume.
Furthermore, more implants might be required, especially when they are supporting bridges or dentures. 2 traditional implants are usually enough to support an entire arch. With mini implants, 4 or more are often needed.
If mini dental implants get damaged, the whole thing has to be removed. This is because the part that goes inside the gum comes in one piece. If the rod comes to any damage, you will need reimplantation. Traditional implants include 3 components, which are easier and cheaper to replace if anything goes wrong.
Last but not least, there is little data on their durability and longevity. Mini dental implants are an innovation, which means there is lack of longitudinal studies and observation on how they behave.
When are mini dental implants a good idea?
Standard dental implants have a lot of requirements and you may have been told before that you do not qualify. The good news is that mini dental implants can still be a way out.
Mini dental implants are recommended for patients who:
- have small teeth,
- want restoration in narrow spaces,
- have lost a lot of bone,
- need replacement of front teeth, and
- want a full smile quickly.
Mini dental implants are not advised for:
- those with mouth diseases such as periodontitis,
- those who need molars replaced,
- those who grind their teeth, or
- those have a small amount of vertical jawbone.
This option might also not be a great suit for upper teeth replacements, however they can work in certain situations. It is at the discretion of the dentist to decide whether you are a good candidate.
Mini dental implants near you
There are over 200,000 dentists across the US. How to find the right one to do your mini implants?
This process is a little more affordable than the traditional one, but it may still be a lot for many patients. Moreover, the surgery requires training, experience, and excellent manual dexterity. Implant placement is a lot safer when done by a skilled specialist.
Are mini dental implants as good as regular implants?
In some cases mini dental implants can be a better fit than the regular kind. It all depends on the patients, how much bone they have available and whether they’re a candidate for bone augmentation.
Consult with a specialist who performs both procedures regularly. They will know best what is right in your case.
Are mini dental implants permanent?
There is a lack of long-term observational studies on mini dental implants since they are a new technology. Nonetheless, they are designed to be a permanent restoration. Even though they haven't been available for long, a lot of success has been recorded.
Why do mini implants fail?
Mini implants can fail due to patient-oriented factors, just as with the traditional process. These include poor hygiene, diabetes, or smoking.
Other reasons include incorrect placement leading to an excess of pressure placed on the rod. Minis are also sometimes unsuccessful in patients with a large volume of gum tissue.
The best way to avoid failure is to go with an experienced specialist and conduct excellent aftercare.
How much bone is needed for mini implants?
Mini dental implants can be installed when there is less than 1 mm of the available bone. It is common that upper arches have less, which means you might need augmentation procedures, although this is rare in the case of mini dental implants.
Can mini dental implants be used for upper dentures?
Mini implants can sometimes be mounted on the top arch. It depends on the quality and amount of bone you have available. Each case is different, so your dentist is the best person to ask for an accurate opinion.
Mini dental implants work better on the bottom arch. This is because there is more jawbone available to stabilize the implant.
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