Mini Dental Implants
For years, your options were limited when it came to replacing missing teeth. Depending upon your specific situation, you either had a bridge, a partial denture, or full dentures. Thanks to recent developments in dental technology, you now have more options—dental implants. However, regular dental implants are not for everyone. At Oak Park Dental, we are proud to offer mini implants, making dental implants available to more tooth loss patients.
Dental ImplantsDental implants are small titanium rods that are inserted into your jawbone via a surgical procedure. The implants then rely on a process known as osseointegration, or the fusion of your jawbone to the implants, for success. When osseointegration is successful, the implant then becomes essentially like an artificial tooth root. An abutment is placed on the top of the implant (which is exposed above the gum line) and is the connector that then holds your replacement tooth (or teeth) to the implant itself.
Implants are one of the latest options available for replacing missing teeth and are favored by both patients and dentists alike. One of their biggest benefits is that the implants mimic the jobs of the tooth root, including its job for the jawbone. The roots of your teeth stimulate your jawbone. When this happens, a message is sent to your body that nutrients are required. When you experience tooth loss, even just one tooth, stimulation decreases. As a result, fewer nutrients are sent. Your jawbone begins to weaken and changes shape, which can then lead to a series of other issues. The dental implant takes the place of the missing tooth root and continues to stimulate the jawbone so that nutrients continue to be sent. The strength and integrity of your jawbone are preserved.
What are Mini Implants?Typically, to be considered a candidate for dental implants, you first need to have sufficient bone mass. However, when tooth loss causes bone loss, it can quickly turn into a vicious cycle. To be considered for implants, you might need a bone graft, another surgical procedure with a lengthy healing time. Mini implants are an alternative to traditional implants that help to break the cycle created by bone loss and allow you to experience the benefits of dental implants.
What are Mini Dental Implants?Mini implants are a type of dental implant. They consist of a small titanium post that has a ball on the exposed end of it. They can be used in several different situations. For one, they can be used to replace teeth in narrow locations. Small teeth are also well tolerated by mini implants. They can even be used to stabilize dentures (especially lower dentures), providing an alternative to denture adhesives. With mini implants, you don’t have to worry about your dentures slipping out of place, or even completely falling out, helping you to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation.
So, What’s the Difference Between Dental Implants and Mini Dental Implants?There’s a huge difference between traditional dental implants and mini implants. Most notable is the size difference between the two. Regular dental implants are approximately 3.4 to 5.8 mm in diameter. Mini implants are roughly half the size of a regular implant, with a diameter similar to that of a toothpick (between 1.8 and 3.3 mm).
Another major difference between regular implants and mini implants is their design. Whereas a regular implant is topped with an abutment, and your tooth (or teeth) are held in place by a screw, a mini implant does not use an abutment or a screw. Instead, the top of the implant has a ball. A socket with an elastic O-ring attaches your tooth (or teeth) to the implant itself.
Because mini implants are smaller than regular implants, the surgical procedure required to place them is much less invasive. This results in a much shorter procedure and can mean a much shorter recovery period.
Another major difference between the two comes in the rare (implants have a 98% success rate) instance of implant failure. When regular implants fail, it often means that you need to undergo a bone graft procedure, which will then allow you to get a new implant. Healing from a bone graft can take several months. If you experience implant failure with mini implants, you will not need a bone graft.
Their small size, and the fact that the procedure is less invasive means that mini-implants are less expensive than regular dental implants.
Finally, regular dental implants require sufficient bone mass for osseointegration. Mini implants are designed for those who many not have the bone mass required for those implants.
The Mini Implant ProcedureThe mini implant procedure is fairly similar to that of regular dental implants. However, due to the size of the implants, it is less invasive and takes much less time. After a local anesthetic (and dental sedation if you are anxious about your procedure), we make incisions in your gum tissue, exposing the jawbone. We then use specialized tools to drill small holes. The implants are then placed into those holes, and your gums stitched closed around them.
Temporary teeth are provided while you heal, which provides you with some normal functions of your mouth. We will provide you with instructions on how to care for your mouth as you heal, such as how to deal with common post-surgical issues like pain and swelling. We will also provide you with instructions on what you should, and should not, eat to heal properly. We will monitor your progress carefully, to ensure that your bone is fusing with the implants.
Once you have healed, we then move on to creating your permanent teeth. This involves taking molds of your mouth, which are sent off to our lab. Here, your custom teeth are designed and fabricated. They are made from ceramic and can be stained and finished to look just like the rest of your natural teeth. When finished, they are sent back, and you return for your final visit. During this visit, your teeth are affixed in place.
If you have suffered tooth loss, and have been told that you are not a candidate for regular dental implants, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are relegated to dentures. Call Oak Park Dental today at (971) 600-0211 to find out if mini implants are right for you!