Just like it sounds, mini dental implants are essentially smaller versions of standard dental implants.
Because they are smaller, they are not quite as strong, but if used properly and planned out well, there are several benefits.
Similar to dental implants, mini dental implants are in the shape of a screw and are essentially screwed into the jaw bone. But unlike standard implants that take 3-6 months of healing, or osseointegration (the bone healing around the implant), they can be restored immediately. They can also often be done in patients who don't have enough bone to do standard dental implants. Because they are smaller and don't go in as far, they can work in a wider range of patients.
Because they can be restored immediately, you don't need to have temporaries placed. With standard implants normally a temporary restoration will be made to be used while the healing process takes place.
They are most commonly used to help keep full dentures more stable. Especially lower dentures, dentures often will move around and need adhesives, but mini implants can help stabilize them and make them much more comfortable and wearable.
Usually about 4 mini dental implants will be placed, and an existing denture can be modified to fit the new implants.
They are normally placed in a normal dental office setting under local anesthesia, the gums are not normally opened up, and no sutures are needed. This all will reduce the amount of post operative pain.
Like everything, there are drawbacks.
Because of their smaller size, diameter, and length, they obviously are not as strong as standard implants. This decreases the amount of force that they can withstand, and may cause a higher failure rate. In the short term it is nice that they can be restored immediately, but in the long run a bigger, stronger standard implant will typically hold up better.
Also, although they are less expensive than standard implants, because multiple implants are often needed, be sure to calculate that in to make sure of any price differential.
Standard implants have also been around longer, and have more longer term studies, which has also prevented some dentists from fully accepting mini implants as a viable option for their patients.
Visit the official Mini Dental Implant page.
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