Since the mini dental implant was brought into the United States in the early 1990’s, it has been a popular choice among patients who have had issues with regular implants due to lack of bone or other problems. In today’s market though there are several different types of mini implants available and many people have questions about how they work, what they are made from and which is best for their situation. Here we will address these important questions and give you a better understanding of just how a mini implant can benefit you!
Dental implants offer one of the best ways to improve smile. They are increasingly becoming the most preferred method for replacing missing teeth. Unlike other tooth replacement options like dentures, implants replace the entire tooth from the roots up thereby providing more stable, longer-lasting results. What’s more, dental implants prevent gum recession and possible bone loss that is often associated with regular bridgework, since they are integrated into the structure of the bone. They are a superior breakthrough solution for replacing teeth.
Unfortunately, individuals with reduced bone density and health conditions that compromise the immune system, such as diabetes, are not able to receive this treatment due to the sheer size of the implant post required and the amount of healing time involved. Mini dental implants offer an innovative solution for these types of patients.
What Are Mini Implants?
Mini implants are essentially a smaller or ‘lighter’ version of the regular dental implants. They are designed to occupy a smaller space on the jaw bone and gum tissue while also allowing for quick installation/placement.
Though they feature the same structure and work in the same manner as regular implants, the minis are significantly smaller and consist of fewer parts. Regular implants are nearly 4mm in diameter while minis range in size between 1.8 and 3mm in diameter. And unlike traditional implants that have three parts – the implant (post), abutment and crown, the minis have only two parts – post and crown. The socket of the crown simply snaps onto the ball fixture of the mini implant post to create the false tooth.
During a standard dental implant procedure, each missing tooth is replaced at a time. The dentist will start by making an incision in the overlying gum tissue and drilling a hole in the bone. Then, a titanium screw (implant) that serves as a root for the new tooth is placed into the hole. This implant is left for some time and given time to anchor to the gum so the false tooth can permanently attach to the jaw. This anchoring process can take up to 6 months. Before then, a protective cap and temporary crown is placed over the exposed portion of the screw while it anchors to the bone and gum. Once the anchoring is complete and the implant is firmly attached to the bone, the cap and temporary crown are removed to pave way for a permanent crown that is installed over the implant. This tooth replacement procedure tends to be expensive, and can be highly invasive for those that have many missing teeth and need to have them replaced.
For these people with a mouthful of missing teeth, as well as those individuals with insufficient bone in their jaw to hold standard-sized implants, the minis offer an opportunity to complete their smiles.
Because the mini implants, they don’t take up much space on the gum and bone. Their small size and design also allows for a quick and issue-free installation.
The minis feature a small titanium screw or implant with a knob that joins to an O-ring, which is an element of the denture. The O-ring, which is integrated into the foundation of the denture, snaps over the top of the implant, securing the denture firmly on to post of the resulting false tooth. There’s no need to wait for the implant titanium post to anchor or to install any temporary crown. This makes the procedure quick, easy and cost effective. In fact, the procedure takes about 90 minutes and can be completed at the end of one dentist’s appointment. The recovery is short (it takes just a few days to heal) and practically pain-free. Even if the mini implant fails, the toothpick-sized hole left behind won’t need a graft and will typically heal without the need for any intervention. But there’s no need to worry about the implant failing, since this procedure boasts a 95% success rate!
This is a far cry from the standard implant procedure, which requires months from the initial doctor’s consultation to time the patient fully recovers; not to mention the fact that it is significantly more intrusive, costly, and can easily lead to complications for patients who already have health problems.
Mini dental implants are reliable, economical, and a proven tooth replacement technology. They are one of the biggest innovations that have occurred in the field of dentures in the last decade, offering numerous advantages. Many patients with numerous missing teeth and oral health issues have been able to reclaim their smile thanks to these minis.
Patients looking for a long-term tooth replacement solution are able to save significant time and money since fewer posts are needed for the mini implants; and there are less dental visits; as well as little or no healing time. For those who wear dentures, the dental surgeon may use an existing denture on the implant allowing the patient to save even more money.
The benefits of mini implants are endless!
Are You A Candidate For This Procedure?
As with any other dental procedure, there’s no way of knowing for sure whether or not you are a candidate for the minis without first visiting a clinic that offers this treatment. Every person is different, and effective dental implant treatment often requires personalized attention to address the individual needs of the patient. Nonetheless, like any other surgical endeavor, overall health is an important factor in the success of the procedure. Bad habits like heavy smoking or drinking can negatively impact the healing process. Conditions like teeth grinding (bruxism), Alzheimer’s disease, Sjorgren’s syndrome, and more, can also put a strain on the implants and must, therefore, be discussed with the dental professional prior to the treatment. In addition, any uncontrolled diabetes, degenerative bone disorder, history of or ongoing radiation treatment on the jaw, or condition that causes immunosuppression may lead to complications.
However, because the minis are significantly smaller and the placement process is less invasive, patients with these health problems (including bone loss) are often still good candidates for the procedure. As far as an individual is healthy enough for minor surgery, they are healthy enough to receive mini implant treatment. Advances in technology have meant that dentists are now able to deal with these health concerns that may affect the healing process. Dental surgeons are even able to position extra bone through modern grafting techniques to allow patients with bone loss to receive implants. So, whatever your situation is, a skilled mini implant surgeon may be able to come up with the right solution to meet your individual requirements and assist you in achieving a perfect smile via this procedure.
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