Mini dental implants are a viable alternative to traditional dentures. Some patients have difficulty with removable dentures for a number of reasons. They may find that their dentures are uncomfortable or painful, or they may cause difficulties with speech. Some patients may have to change their eating habits to accommodate their new dentures, and over time other problems with dental occlusion (bite) may develop if they become loose or ill-fitting. Mini implants offer a feasible option for patients to secure their dentures, alleviating movement which often leads to these issues.
Mini implants are constructed from the same titanium alloys as conventional implants, and are available in varying lengths. They differ from traditional implants as they have a much smaller diameter - less than 3mm rather than 4-5mm. This means the procedure for insertion of a mini dental implant is much less painful, quicker and less invasive than conventional dental implants. Mini implants, therefore, are a suitable alternative for many patients who are unable to tolerate standard dental implant procedures.
Description of Procedure
The placement of a mini dental implant is a relatively easy and quick procedure which can be carried out under local anesthesia. Once the patient is anesthetized, a small drill is used, through the gum tissue and into the jaw bone to create the cavity to accommodate the mini dental implant. The mini implant is then surgically inserted into the jawbone, and is fully embedded, leaving the top of the dental implant above the surface of the gum. An attachment cap is then positioned onto the mini dental implant and the denture is secured in place over the caps. No stitches, or the months of healing typically associated with traditional dental implants are required, and the whole procedure takes place in one day.
Advantages of Mini Dental Implants
For standard dental implant procedures, invasive surgical treatments such as bone grafts are required. This involves extensive surgery, which, particularly in elderly patients, is not a viable option due to the high risk of complications. As the procedure for mini implants is far less invasive, it is particularly suitable for these type of patients. Less invasive procedures involve minimum disturbance to the bone and gum tissues, which in turn leads to a far shorter healing period and, therefore, decreases the chances of dental implant failure.
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of mini dental implants is that costs are greatly reduced when compared to conventional dental implants. As it is a very quick procedure, this results in less time spent with the dentist, cutting costs considerably.
For patients who are uncomfortable wearing dentures, the confidence that mini implants can give is immeasurable. For some patients, the knowledge that their teeth aren't going to fall out while they are eating is, perhaps, the best reason for having mini dental implants.
Disadvantages of Mini Dental Implants
The disadvantages of mini implants is that they are not recommended as single tooth replacements. In fact, they are most effective only when used to stabilize dentures on the lower jaw. There is also a possibility, as with conventional dental implants, they will fail. However, with proper care and treatment this is less likely.
Mini dental implants are becoming an increasingly popular option for many patients who require dentures, and want a long-term supporting structure. With proper care and dental regular check ups, there is no reason why mini implants cannot last for several decades.