Mini dental implants are a revolutionary advancement in dentistry. These small titanium posts provide a secure and permanent solution to replace missing teeth or stabilize loose dentures.
Gone are the days of using traditional dentures, which can be uncomfortable and unreliable. Mini implants are less invasive than traditional dental implants, require no sutures, and have a shorter healing time.
If you’re considering getting mini dental implants, here’s your guide to dental implants of the mini kind, what you need to know about the procedure, its benefits, and more.
What Are Mini Dental Implants? A Quick Look
Mini implants are small titanium posts that are inserted into the jawbone to replace a missing tooth.
When we look at the anatomy of the mini implants, we can see that the implant is made up of just one part instead of two (like a regular implant). The piece has a post and a ball-shaped end that connects to a rubber o-ring and crown. The implant protrudes from the gumline, unlike a traditional implant, and is covered by a crown.
Traditional implants require a stronger bone structure, so mini implants are ideal for those who don’t have enough bone mass in the jaw to support a traditional implant. Thanks to their diameter, which is usually between two and three millimeters, mini implants are also less invasive than traditional implants.
Mini implants were essentially created to be a more accessible option for patients who don’t have the funds or the bone structure to support traditional implants. It’s good news for those with smaller mouths, those who want to cut down on costs, and those who don’t want to go through the lengthy process of getting traditional implants.
Advantages Of Mini Dental Implants
Mini implants offer a wide range of advantages over traditional dental implants or dentures. With more than 178 million Americans missing at least one tooth, this procedure can be a great solution for those who don’t qualify for a traditional implant or can’t afford one. Here are some of the most noteworthy benefits:
- Quicker Treatment Time: Mini implants can be placed and restored in just 30 minutes on average, giving you back your confidence and smile faster than ever before. Traditional implants typically need multiple visits.
- Less Invasive Procedure: The small diameter of mini implants makes them much less invasive than traditional dental implants. This means that they require fewer incisions and cause less trauma to the surrounding tissue.
- Minimal Discomfort: Mini implants are much less painful than traditional dental implants, and their smaller size also means that they cause fewer post-operative complications.
- Secure Fit: The abutment piece of the mini implant ensures a secure fit, so you don’t have to worry about your dentures or replacement teeth slipping out of place.
- More Affordable: Mini implants are generally more affordable than traditional dental implants, making them an attractive option for those looking for a cost-effective solution.
- Can Fit Smaller Areas of the Mouth: Traditional implants tend to be too large for areas with less bone structure, such as the front teeth or premolars. Mini implants are ideal for these locations since they can fit into smaller spaces.
Who’s The Best Candidate For Mini Dental Implants?
Mini implants are ideal for those who have missing teeth or loose dentures and don’t have enough bone mass to support traditional dental implants. They’re often a good choice for people who want to avoid undergoing surgery.
If you’re a denture-wearer, mini implants can provide a more secure and comfortable fit. They also don’t slip or move around in the mouth, nor will they change the appearance of your jawbone like dentures do.
Overall, you should be in good health - oral and systemic - to qualify for mini dental implants.
Who Is Not Suitable For Mini Dental Implants?
Mini dental implants are not suitable for those who have a history of gum disease, cavities, or any other oral infection. They may not be the best option for people with certain medical conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Here’s a more comprehensive list of people who are not suitable for mini implants:
- Those who grind their teeth
- Children or those whose mouth isn’t fully developed
- Those with hemophilia and other clotting conditions
- Those with bone disease
- Those with vascular disease
- Those with receding or damaged gums
- Those with severe jaw bone loss and decay
There are also other lifestyle factors that may affect whether or not you qualify for the implants. This might include:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Taking anticoagulants
- Taking medications that slow down bone healing
It’s important to consult your dentist before undergoing mini implant surgery. They will be able to evaluate your oral health and advise you on the most suitable treatment for you.
Are There Disadvantages Of Mini Dental Implants?
Although mini implants are generally safe, there are some potential risks. As with any oral surgery, there’s a possibility of infection or nerve damage. Also, because the implant is smaller than traditional implants, it may not be as strong and may require more frequent replacement over time. Finally, mini dental implants aren’t covered by insurance in many cases - so you should factor in the cost when deciding if this procedure is right for you.
Caring For Mini Dental Implants
Caring for mini dental implants is much like caring for your natural teeth. You should brush with a soft toothbrush and floss twice a day, use an antibacterial mouthwash, and visit your dentist regularly to ensure that the implant is secure and functioning properly.
Right after the procedure is done, you may be advised to make soft foods to eat after dental implant placement for several days while the area heals. You’ll also want to avoid hard or sticky foods as they may loosen the implant or cause it to break. And, you should stop smoking during the healing window as this can increase your risk of implant failure.
The recovery process is key to the success of your treatment, so make sure to follow your dentist’s instructions.
What Are Mini Implant Dentures?
Mini implant dentures are another form of mini dental implants. Unlike traditional dentures, which rely on adhesives to stay in place, mini implant dentures use the mini implants as anchors to keep them secure.
They can be used for both upper and lower jaw replacements, but they’re most often used in the lower jaw because it requires fewer implants than an upper jaw replacement. You can take advantage of a more secure fit than traditional dentures and more comfort.
Mini Dental Implants Versus Traditional Implants
In this section, we'll dive into the differences between traditional and mini dental implants.
- Size: Traditional implants are larger than mini implants, with a diameter of 3.5mm - 5mm as opposed to 2mm - 3mm for mini implants.
- Bone Structure: Traditional implants require stronger bone structure than mini implants, which can be inserted even in areas where there’s less bone mass.
- Healing Time: Mini implant procedures typically have a shorter healing time compared to traditional implant procedures due to their smaller size and the fact that they don't require sutures.
- How Long They Last: Both mini and traditional implants are durable, but traditional implants tend to last longer. Regular implants are a longer-term solution, as they offer better weight distribution and don’t put as much long-term stress on the jaw bone.
Mini Dental Implant Cost
The mini dental implant cost can vary depending on your insurance coverage and whether you’re going for full mouth mini dental implants or not. On average, the cost is between $500 - $1,500 per tooth (compared to $1,500 - $6,000 for regular implants) but may be higher if more than one implant is needed.
The Mini Dental Implant Procedure
So you know what to expect, let’s take a look at the mini implant procedure.
- First, your dentist will examine your mouth to determine if you are a good candidate for the mini implants. During this appointment, they may take x-rays to assess your jawbone structure.
- Once you’re cleared for the procedure, your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area and make sure you don’t feel any pain during insertion.
- A small incision is then made in the gum line where the implant will be placed, and special tools are used to insert it into the jawbone.
- The screw is securely tightened in place, and once everything is secured, the abutment is attached to the implant.
- Finally, your dentist will fit a crown or denture onto the abutment that matches your natural teeth in color and shape.
How Long Do Mini Dental Implants Last?
Mini implants are not a permanent solution. They typically last about 5 to 10 years, depending on the patient’s oral health and how well they take care of their implants. Over time, the implant will degrade due to wear and tear in the mouth.
Now you know the basics of mini implants, let’s look at some of the most frequently asked questions about them:
What Is The Downside Of Mini Dental Implants?
The main downside to mini implants is that they are not as strong as traditional implants and may need to be replaced more frequently. Additionally, mini implants do not provide the same level of stability as traditional implants, so they may be less comfortable for some people.
Can I Whiten My Teeth With Implants?
Since implants of any kind are made of a non-porous material, they cannot be whitened. Mini implants do not respond to bleaching agents as natural teeth do; however, you can get a special dental crown that is custom-made to match the color of your natural teeth.
If possible, you should get your teeth whitened before getting mini implants to ensure that the shade of your new implant(s) matches the hue you want your teeth to be.
Can Teeth Whitening Strips Damage Implants?
No. Teeth whitening strips are not strong enough to damage implants of any kind. But as whitening, in general, is not effective on implants and at-home teeth whitening kits are even less effective than in-office teeth whitening options, using them on mini implants is not recommended.
Are Mini Dental Implants As Good As Regular Implants?
Mini dental implants are not as strong or stable as traditional implants and may need to be replaced more frequently. That being said, mini dental implants still provide a secure solution for missing teeth or loose dentures for those who don’t have enough bone mass in their jaw to support a regular implant.
There are also plenty of advantages to mini implants, such as less invasiveness and a shorter healing time.
What Is The Failure Rate Of Mini Dental Implants?
The success rate of mini implants is very high. Studies have shown that the failure rate for mini dental implants put in the retromolar area (the spot behind the wisdom teeth) is around 23.2%, while for those placed in the infrazygomatic region (where your molars are), it is around 21.8%, making them a reliable and secure option.
Do Mini Implants Go Into Bone?
Yes, mini dental implants are placed directly into the jawbone. Once inserted, your dentist will attach a crown or denture to the implant and it will become part of your mouth just like a natural tooth would.
Can Mini Implants Be Done In One Day?
Mini implants are often referred to as same day dental implants as they can often be done in a single visit. Your dentist will take impressions of your mouth and determine the best position for the implant. The procedure itself usually takes about half an hour to one hour, and you’ll be able to go home that same day with your new smile.
How Long Does It Take To Put In A Mini Implant?
The entire process, from start to finish, usually takes about two to six months. This time frame includes the initial consultation, the placement procedure, and the healing period. The placement procedure itself only takes 30 to 60 minutes.
Can Mini Implants Be Permanent?
Although mini implants can last for several years, they are not intended to be a permanent solution that lasts a lifetime. If you’re looking for a long-term solution, traditional implants may be the better option. Mini implants typically last around 5 - 10 years, while traditional implants can last 15+ years.
Is A Mini Implant Painful?
The procedure to place a mini implant is minimally invasive and usually doesn’t require any sutures. The area may be numbed before the procedure, so you won’t feel any pain during the placement. Afterward, there may be some discomfort or swelling, but this should subside within a few days.
If you want to relieve pain from dental implant fittings, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers, as directed by your dentist.
Can Mini Implants Be Removed?
Yes, mini implants can be removed if necessary. Depending on the location of the implant and whether the abutment has been placed yet, removal may require oral surgery. Situations where the implant would need to be removed include alignment, when the implant fails to integrate with the jawbone, or when an infection occurs.
Are Mini Implants Cheaper?
Mini implants are typically less expensive than traditional implants, but the cost can vary based on your individual needs and the location of your dentist. This is because mini implants require less time and fewer materials than traditional implants.
How Long After Extraction Can I Get Mini Implants?
In some cases where the jawbone is completely healthy, it’s possible to get mini implants immediately after tooth extraction. Most of the time though, it takes about 3 to 6 months for the area to heal fully before getting the implant, so your dentist will likely recommend waiting.
Do Mini Implants Prevent Bone Loss?
Not only are mini implants suitable for replacing a missing tooth, but they can also help prevent bone loss in the jawbone. This is because the titanium post stimulates, supports, and encourages new bone growth, which helps keep your jaw healthy and strong.
They can help prevent the need for a bone graft in the future, which can be expensive and time-consuming. A bone graft is a surgical procedure that transplants bone to the jaw in order to rebuild it.
What Size Are Mini Implants?
The diameter of mini implants is typically between two and three millimeters. This allows it to fit comfortably in the jawbone, making it less invasive than traditional implants.
Do I Need A Bridge Or Implant?
To decide whether you need a bridge or implant, your dentist will need to evaluate your teeth and jawbone. Bridges are used when the adjacent teeth are healthy and strong enough to support the bridge. If not, then a dental implant may be necessary.
Do You Take Mini Implants Out At Night?
Mini implants are a permanent solution and can’t be removed at all. As they are secured in the jawbone, they work to replace missing teeth or stabilize dentures.
This can prove to be useful for those who don’t want to worry about taking out their dentures every night. No more worrying about denture adhesives or slipping dentures - it’s time to improve your smile!