What Makes Mini Dental Implants Different
Natural-looking dental implants have become a popular, comfortable and convenient alternative to dentures and bridges, and can also be used to anchor dental plates.
Dental implants hold many key advantages over traditional tooth replacement systems. They restore your smile because they look like real teeth – or even better – and provide a high level of long-lasting functionality.
If you’re considering dental implants to replace a missing tooth or several teeth, you may not be aware that mini implants are available, thanks to advances in technology.
Even if you have heard of mini dental implants, you may well be wondering what makes these implants different, compared with their big brother, regular dental implants.
Both types of implants give you artificial teeth that are safe and effective, and nearly as strong as a natural tooth, with a high success rate.
Here, we’ll look at the similarities and differences between mini and regular dental implants, to give you some idea of which may be the best tooth-replacement option for you.
How Regular Dental Implants and Mini Implants Work
The science behind regular and mini dental implants is the same – based on the properties of titanium as a robust metal that’s used for many different medical purposes because it’s compatible with body tissue and can bond with the bone.
In both mini and traditional dental implants, a titanium rod is inserted into the jaw bone, where it fuses with the bone to become part of your jaw and forms an artificial tooth root to secure a prosthetic tooth – a crown, denture or bridge.
Health Benefits of Dental Implants
Implants hold major health benefits over other tooth replacement methods.
By creating a strong replacement tooth root that promotes bone growth, dental implants help to avoid deterioration of facial structure – unlike dentures and bridges. Dr. Sasik a Plymouth prosthodontist adds that preserving the jaw bone not only helps keep your facial structure but helps improve your self esteem and allows to smile confidently.
Implants also improve your bite function. The bite force of dentures is far less than that of real teeth, but implants are as strong as your natural teeth.
Implants also prevent adjacent teeth from moving out of position.
What are Mini Dental Implants?
As the name suggests, mini dental implants (abbreviated to MDIs) are smaller than standard implants – about half the diameter. This is why they’re also known as narrow-diameter implants (NDIs) or small diameter implants (SDIs).
While conventional dental implants are about the size – and shape – of a typical household screw (4-5mm in diameter), the diameter of a mini implant is more like that of a toothpick (2.5mm).
While conventional implants usually consist of two pieces, a mini implant requires no separate abutment to be fitted on top of the implant base. The top of the mini implant protrudes through the gum to support your replacement teeth.
When Mini Dental Implants Come into Their Own
There are several reasons why a mini dental implant may be a better option than a conventional implant.
The smaller size of a mini implant can make implant treatment possible if you don’t have an adequate bone density in your jaw to support a full-size implant. It also avoids the need for a bone graft.
This means mini implants can be a good option if you’ve delayed getting missing teeth replaced. Without the stimulus of a tooth root, the supporting bone will deteriorate over time.
The leading cause of tooth loss among adults, gum disease can also result in loss of jaw bone as bacteria gradually eat away at the bone and the ligaments that connect the bone to a tooth.
Mini implants can be particularly beneficial if you’re missing teeth in your lower jaw – typically to stabilize a denture. Lower dentures can with time work loose, resulting in an uncomfortable fit because of insufficient support from the jaw bone.
Mini implants can also be effective in the upper jaw to secure a denture, as long as extra precautions are taken to ensure proper stability taking into account that bone in the upper jaw is softer.
Mini Dental Implants Vs Standard Implants
Both standard dental implants and mini implants provide a highly functional tooth replacement solution to enhance your oral health and facial appearance – with several advantages over dentures and bridges.
Several factors make mini dental implants different from traditional implants. These benefits include:
- No major surgery – mini-implants avoid the invasive surgery necessary to place regular dental implants and also eliminate the need for a bone graft.
- Single-procedure treatment – while getting traditional dental implants can be a lengthy process, mini implants can usually be placed during a single visit to your dentist.
- Lower cost – mini implants are less expensive than regular implants because the procedure isn’t as complicated.
- Faster healing–mini implants can usually be fitted with local anesthetic without the need for stitches, and recovery time is dramatically less than that with conventional dental implants.
A downside of mini dental implants is that they may not last as long as more durable standard implants.
However, in some cases, mini implants may still be the better option, especially if you have bone degeneration issues. A mini implant can also provide a short-term fix ahead of a permanent tooth replacement solution.
Are Mini Dental Implants Right for Me?
Many people have lost one tooth or more through tooth decay, gum disease or facial injury. If you’re one of them, you’ll likely know only too well the frustrating problems tooth loss can cause, such as difficulty eating and speaking. Your remaining teeth may also shift out of place, which can result in bite issues.
Missing teeth can also impair your appearance by spoiling your smile and making you look older as the resulting loss of jaw bone gives your face a shrunken appearance.
Whether regular implants or mini-implants will work best for you depends largely on the condition of your jaw and mouth.
A dentist specializing in mini dental implants will be able to help you decide whether this is the best way to fill the gaps in your smile and put an end to all the other problems associated with tooth loss, whether you’re missing one tooth or more.