You may have heard of mini implants before. Maybe you thought of mini teeth, and wondered, “Why would they need to replace baby teeth?”
Thankfully, mini implants are restored with the same size of crown as any other implant, making them blend in naturally with your teeth. “Mini implants” refers to the size of the post that dentists use when placing an implant. Instead of a longer post that is inserted into your jawbone, mini implants go into the bone only slightly.
When Mini Implants Help
Aesthetically, mini implants look the same as regular implants after they have been restored with a crown. Whether you are getting a regular implant or a mini implant, you may have a temporary crown before you have your permanent one placed.
Mini implants are great if you:
- Cannot undergo a long recovery: During the mini-implant procedure, you will be placed under local anesthesia. The implants don’t need to be placed in as far, making the process less painful with a shorter recovery time. This means that they are a great option for those who cannot undergo surgery. Also, no sutures or stitches are needed after the placement of a mini implant!
- Have jawbone deterioration: Jawbone deterioration often prevents people from getting implants, because they cannot have an implant placed in a weak jaw. This can be frustrating because there is still a missing tooth that needs to be replaced! Mini implants can be placed into weaker jawbones, and they can even stimulate bone growth.
- Cannot afford regular dental implants: Mini implants can be cheaper than regular implants. The reason for that is the cost of anesthesia is less, and the implant procedure and the implant itself often cost less too. If you need to treat a gap in your smile but cannot afford a dental implant procedure right now, this may be a great option to ask your dentist about.
When Mini Implants Hinder
Mini implants are not always a perfect solution for a missing tooth. Most often, dentists will recommend a regular implant before a mini-implant due to the lack of durability and because they don’t do as good of a job stimulating bone growth.
While mini implants are placed inside the bone, they are not as durable or secure as regular implants because they are so shallowly placed. Getting knocked in the face or experiencing bone deterioration can mean your mini implant may fail. You may have to go back for more visits to have it adjusted or even have it replaced.
Osseointegration, the process of the jawbone growing around and gripping the implant, is much more difficult for a mini implant, which is one of the reasons it is less stable. Traditional implants will be assisted by your body in supporting the tooth.
Mini implants are also less durable. As they age, they may shift or become loose. This can especially happen if your teeth shift, or if you grind your teeth and push against the implant.
To get a mini implant, you also must have a fairly healthy jaw bone, even if you have some deterioration. If you are missing too much jaw bone, a mini implant cannot be placed. A bone graft can sometimes be used to give a regular implant a sturdier foundation, but bone grafts aren’t usually helpful for mini implants.
Making the Decision
If you are struggling with a gap in your teeth, call Vibrant Dental in the Las Vegas area, or contact your local dentist with questions. You can request a consultation to have a discussion about your concerns or questions. Your dentist will make a recommendation based on your specific oral health situation, and they may just recommend mini implants.