Have you lost teeth but don’t feel prepared for a conventional restoration which might involve invasive surgery or costly dental work?
Do you find your dentures to be loose or uncomfortable, or are you afraid of being embarrassed if your dentures come out of place?
Do you have difficulty eating or speaking normally because of missing teeth?
Do you wish your smile was restored to its original state – or better?
Then you may want to consider mini dental implants, which are meant to replace lost teeth in the case that you don’t want or can’t receive more conventional treatments.
Mini dental implants are a newer technique that was designed to solve the shortcomings or problems of more traditional or standard dental implants – they are less invasive and painful, don’t involve bone grafts or multiple surgeries, can fit in smaller spaces or used to replace smaller teeth like incisors or premolars, and can often even be less expensive.
In fact, mini dental implants can be up and running – with minimal pain that can be managed by over-the-counter medications – in a day or two.
Does this all sound good?
What’s more, you should also keep in mind that sometimes the available space in your mouth or the size of the available space means that only a mini implant will work.
Your dentist can advise you as what would work best for your needs.
If your teeth are damaged or to be replaced, you most likely have a variety of choices depending on the damage to your mouth, the shape and size and type of missing teeth, and more.
Mini dental implants can be an excellent option.
They have a similar structure as compared to regular dental implants, but are smaller in size and can be less invasive or painful to install.
They are also often used in the place of incisors, premolars, or for people who simply have smaller teeth and mouths.
It can seem pretty confusing to determine which type of dental implant or procedure is right for you and your unique issues.
If you’ve lost a tooth – or several teeth – and want to find a long-term solution, your first step should be to contact your dentist and review all your options and the pros and cons of each one.
What Are Mini Implants?
Mini dental implants are a good option for people who want to replace teeth they’ve lost but do not want or cannot do more conventional restoration methods.
There are many reasons to avoid the dental surgery required for regular implants; for instance, you may lack the bone mass in your jaw to support the implant, or you simply don’t want to have invasive and painful surgery unless it is absolutely necessary.
A mini dental implant is typically about half the size of a traditional dental implant, which means that they are easier and less painful to install, and they also do not require the same amount of jaw bone mass that traditional dental implants require.
This makes them an excellent option for adults suffering from tooth loss due to accidents or damage, or elderly individuals who tend to suffer from resorption.
Mini implants are often a better choice than traditional bridges or dentures, and there is an advantage to the fact that not only is the process to install them less invasive, but it is a quicker procedure that typically only requires a single appointment.
Most dentists tend to use mini dental implants for people with small teeth or mouths, for front tooth replacements, premolar replacements, or teeth that are otherwise located in a narrow space.
A mini dental implant is fixed in your jawbone like a traditional tooth implant as well, so it can help to prevent facial collapse and other issues.
What Are Mini Implant Dentures?
Mini dental implants are small implants that do not need to be completely embedded in your jawbone.
They are one solid piece with a diameter of three millimeters (3mm) or less that screws directly into your jawbone.
These types of dental implants do have a similar structure and resemble standard dental implants, but they are smaller in size.
Generally, mini dental implants have two parts – they are made up of a titanium post with a ball on the end and a socket with an O-ring that attaches the “tooth” to the post which is embedded in your jaw.
The actual “implant” aspect of mini implants is as thin as a toothpick and looks surprisingly tiny!
These types of implants can replace most types of teeth and can be used in place of bridges, dentures, fixed crowns, and can even secure loose and lower arch dentures.
Titanium is used to secure the implant to your jaw – this metal can be integrated into your body and the rod used to attach the dental implant will mimic the movement of your natural tooth.
Note that once the healing process begins, your bone and the titanium can become permanently fused.
Mini implant dentures are used as a dental prosthesis over adhesive dentures because they are more secure and comfortable and allow for a more natural use of the tooth in terms of eating, biting, and chewing.
Even if you have lost a lot of bone mass in your jaw, have a receding jaw bone, or have damage from an accident or other issues with your jaw, mini implants can still be a great way to restore the way your teeth look, the way you can eat and otherwise use your teeth, and perhaps most importantly, your confidence in your smile.
Unlike traditional removable dentures that you have to take out to clean as well as worry about them coming out when you’re eating or when you’re in public – or any other embarrassing time – mini dental implants are a long-term solution that can help you regain your confidence and improve your appearance as well as your overall health.
Dental Implants Versus Mini Implants
There are a variety of options available if you need to replace a missing tooth, including bridges, upper dentures, or new dental implants.
That said, perhaps the lowest impact or the easiest procedure involves mini dental implants.
Unlike standard dental implants, mini implants do not need to be embedded or attached completely to the jawbone, and they don’t require bone grafts.
Dental implants of any kind might be preferable to dentures depending on the state of your jaw and teeth.
Mini implants are often advised for patients who have jawbone recession, the bone loss that occurs in the absence of tooth roots.
If you delay replacing a missing tooth for whatever reason, you may experience a loss of bone tissue – jawbone recession or a receding jawbone – which means that you may not be eligible for traditional for standard dental implants.
Some of the pros of getting mini dental implants include the fact that you’ll have no need for complex flap dental surgery (which can have a long and painful recovery time), no need for expensive and painful bone grafts, less need for pain medication after the procedure (the discomfort from a mini dental implant can generally be handled by over-the-counter medications as opposed to opiates or other prescription painkillers), and the whole process is more affordable in general.
While traditional dental implants are considered to be more durable and long lasting, mini dental implants can last a very long time and they are a great option for people who cannot or don’t want to go the traditional route.
Mini dental implants look similar to both traditional implants and your natural teeth – it’s highly likely that no one but your dentist will be able to tell the difference between your new implants and your other teeth.
Keep in mind that if you’re older or have experienced bone resorption before, then mini dental implants may be a better option than traditional dental implants.
Bone resorption – which you can think of as your body breaking down and absorbing bone tissue which results in a transfer of calcium from the bone tissue to your bloodstream.
If you have a history of resorption as it relates to your teeth, mini dental implants might be a better choice.
Mini dental implants are also easier to place since there is less of a chance that your new teeth may be placed too close to a nerve or sinus, since they are smaller overall.
The smaller diameter also means they are likely less painful to fix or repair if something happens to them.
Mini Dental Implants Versus Traditional Implants
There are plenty of reasons to choose mini dental implants over traditional implants.
For instance, the procedure is relatively quick and you can even use your new teeth the same day as your appointment.
A dentist can usually install your new mini dental implants in one visit using only local anesthesia and without using sutures, while traditional implants require more appointments and more invasive surgeries.
On the other hand, when you get standard dental implants, the process tends to take several months and it usually requires multiple appointments.
Depending on the type of dental implant that you need, you may also need to have additional appointments for bone-grafting.
Or if you have lost too much bone mass in your jaw for regular implants, mini dental implants may still be an option for you.
There are generally fewer risks of complications from mini dental implants versus traditional implants as well, and mini implants can usually support a restoration of your teeth immediately following their placement.
Note that you may not be a good candidate for mini dentures if you have a history of teeth grinding or if you have inadequate vertical bone in your jaw.
For the former, teeth grinding may wear down the mini dental implants prematurely, and in regard to the latter, there may be an issue installing the implants themselves.
You may also need more mini dental implants for denture stabilization than you would for more traditional procedures; also, mini dental implants are not often recommended for upper teeth or molars since those perform the bulk of your work when chewing.
That said, if you aren’t a candidate for conventional or traditional dental implants, you may definitely still be able to get mini implants – speak to your dentist and set up an appointment to learn more.
If you’ve been told that the more extensive and traumatic surgery required for traditional implants is not possible for you because of the risks of the surgery or underlying factors like bone density or diabetes, mini dental implants may still be an option.
Mini Dental Cost
Mini dental implants can be a long-lasting solution if you’re missing a tooth or teeth due to decay, damage, or an accident.
They can also be more affordable than traditional implants, since they tend to only require a single appointment and you can resume normal use of your teeth the same day.
It’s also important to know that most patients recover from the procedure within twenty-four to forty-eight hours, so you can go back to work and otherwise resume normal activities pretty quickly with minimal time off since the process of getting mini dental implants is much less invasive and traumatic than the process for getting traditional dental implants.
After all, when you receive traditional dental implants, it may take between three and six months for your jaw and mouth to heal due to the cutting away of the gums to expose the jawbone and the holes drilled in the jaw to allow for the implant to be placed and screwed in.
The bone fuses to the implant and grows over time, which means you may need to wait quite a while before you are comfortable with your new tooth or teeth.
Since mini dental implants work differently and can be installed using more contemporary micro-surgical techniques, they don’t require nearly as long of a healing period.
The diameter is smaller so very little bone needs to be removed as compared to traditional dental implants, so the entire procedure is less invasive, less painful, and requires much less healing time.
The tiny lower portion of the titanium threaded root replacement part of a mini implant screws tightly into the jawbone from the beginning and will be stable enough for you to bite, chew, and otherwise eat without problems.
You also won’t need expensive and painful bone grafts if you are getting mini dental implants, which lessens the overall cost of mini implant dentures, mini dental implants, as well as the recovery time.
They do call for some vertical jawbone length since the screws are fairly long, but not as much as traditional dental implants.
Mini dental implants tend to cost between one half and one quarter as much as traditional implants, but of course the actual cost depends on your needs and dental issues.
The Mini Dental Implant Procedure
When you are considering mini dental implants, you should understand the procedure.
For both traditional dental implants and mini dental implants, keep in mind that neither of these types of tooth implants involve attaching the tooth at first.
The titanium post that attaches the tooth to your jawbone is inserted under the gums and secured to the jawbone, then the mini dental implant is attached via a ball and socket joint.
On the contrary, traditional implants require a second metal piece – called an abutment – which is secured at the gum line after the original metal post is inserted and secured.
Mini dental implants tend to be recommended when resorption has taken place or the bone mass in the jawbone is not dense enough to support a traditional implant.
Mini dental implants are also good for a fast or even temporary solution since the process of installing them is relatively quick and painless as compared to traditional dental implants.
Your dentist will take detailed X-rays prior to performing the procedure to install your mini dental implants.
Once they determine the perfect location, they will use a pilot drill to make a small hole in the gum issue, and then insert your new mini dental implant through the hole and tighten it in place with specialized tools.
At first, your dental implant will protrude above the gums but your dentist will modify it to it.
Then your new tooth will be fitted on the titanium post using O-rings that will allow it to be firmly snapped into place.
In the initial days after your mini dental implant procedure is performed, you will want to avoid overly hard or sticky foods – this is when you want to stick to soft things like ice cream, mashed potatoes, soups, and smoothies.
However, you should have relatively minimal pain as compared to a conventional dental implant process, and you’ll be ready to resume normal activities in a day or two.
If you experience significant pain or pain that lasts for longer than several days, contact your dentist to ensure there are not any problems with your new mini dental implants.
Caring for Mini Dental Implants
Mini dental implants can be taken care of in the same way as your natural teeth.
You should brush and floss daily, and use an extra soft-bristled toothbrush if your gums are more sensitive after the procedure.
They look natural and are as similarly durable as the teeth you were born with, so no need to do anything differently.
You should always get regular dental checkups and cleanings to maintain the health of your mini dental implants and the rest of your teeth.
Once installed, mini dental implants can feel and look – as natural – as the rest of your teeth, so you can have functioning teeth as you did before the damage or tooth loss occurred.
Be aware that you will also have to get used to removing the denture to clean it; which should be a gentle process.
You can remove the tooth and clean the entire area where it was implanted with a soft cotton swab and toothpaste, and then use a denture brush to clean the empty space, followed by mouthwash.
Your dentist can recommend the best products to use and the exact cleaning process to follow.
It does add another step to your daily dental hygiene routine but you’ll get used to it quickly – and the payoff of having a beautiful smile will definitely be worth the effort.
How Long Do Mini Dental Implants Last?
Mini dental implants can be a long lasting and durable solution with proper care.
If you’ve lost your natural teeth, we can restore your smile – and your confidence – without significantly affecting your daily routine.
While mini dental implants haven’t been an option as long as traditional implants (so we do not have as much research available), with proper care and regular checkups with your dentist they can last for years.
Of course, you should be aware that every mouth and person is different, so the health and effectiveness of your mini dental implants will vary.
But regular teeth cleanings and daily brushing and flossing will go a long way towards maintaining the health of your new teeth.
Bone diseases such as osteoporosis, smoking, lack of dental care, and alcohol or other substance abuse can affect the lifespan and condition of your dental implants.
You may still be able to get dental implants if you are a habitual smoker, but of course smoking affects your overall health as well as your periodontal health and may cause problems with your mini dental implants – plus a failed dental implant can be extremely painful and may make it unlikely that you could successfully receive a similar procedure in the future.
Mini Dental Implants Can Last for Years
While you may have read that traditional dental implants last longer than mini implants, mini dental implants can last for years with proper care – and in many cases, they may be the best decision based on the size of your teeth and the space in your mouth, the bone structure of your jaw, the amount of bone mass that you have, and any other health concerns.
If you are already wearing dentures, mini dental implants can be a great, confidence-building option, since your new teeth will be permanently affixed to your jaw.
No need to worry about your teeth coming out or getting loose at inopportune times, like when you’re eating at a restaurant or in public in general.
They can help preserve your oral health – including your gum health – better than other kinds of tooth replacements.
In general, problems with mini dental implants are the result of poor installation – not the implants themselves.
Elements like your unique bite pattern or occlusion, load distribution, and lateral forces all affect the sturdiness and durability of your implants – but an experienced practitioner will know how to deal with these things and install your mini dental implants in such a way that they will comfortably last for a long time.
Are you considering getting mini dental implants or other dental work in order to repair and improve your damaged teeth?
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