If you have one or more missing teeth, then you should learn about all of your dental implant options. While many types of dental implants are available, standard implants and mini implants (MDIs) are the two most popular implant options today. Compared to the relatively larger sizes of traditional implants, mini implants have posts that range from just 1.8 to 3 mm in diameter.
A standard dental implant has three parts, including a post or screw, a crown, and an abutment that connects the crown to the post. Alternatively, mini implants have just a post and a crown — the post top is designed for direct connection to the crown.
Now that you know how these implant types differ in size and structure, learn four mini implant facts that can help you decide if you may be a good mini implant candidate.
Mini Implant Placement is Relatively Quick and Easy
One of the main advantages of mini implants when compared to standard implants is their quick and easy placement and healing time.
Traditional Implant Placement
Before a traditional dental implant can be placed, an oral surgeon must perform a procedure. They make an incision in the gum tissue in the location where the implant will be to expose the bone underneath. Once this bone is exposed, the surgeon drills a hole about the size of the implant post into the jawbone. Finally, the surgeon places the dental implant in this hole and sutures the gum tissue back together.
After this initial post placement, you must then allow your gum tissue to heal and wait several weeks or months while this post osseointegrates with your jaw before the implant crown can be placed. Some implant professionals do offer same-day crown placement after a standard implant post is placed if a patient is a good candidate for this early placement.
Mini Implant Placement
No flap procedure is necessary before mini implant placement. Instead, a thin hole is drilled right into your jawbone through your gum tissue, then the mini implant post goes right into this hole. Finally, the implant crown goes directly on top of this post.
Since your bone and gum tissue is disturbed much less during mini implant placement, osseointegration is typically complete much more quickly after MDI placement. Additionally, a person experiences minimal discomfort during this healing time.
Mini Implants Work Best When Replacing Front Teeth
While mini implants do have their unique advantages, they do have their limitations when compared to standard implants. Mini implants are great options when replacing front incisors, canine teeth, and often bicuspids, although they are typically not good options for molar replacement. Why?
Since people put so much force on molars when chewing and mini implant posts are so thin, they not quite as strong as traditional implant posts and could break or bend if they support molar crowns.
However, some dentists choose to use two mini implant posts to support one molar crown when this is a better option for a patient’s unique jaw shape and bone density.
Mini Implants Are Good Options When Advanced Bone Loss Is Present
Once a tooth is lost, the jawbone that once supported the tooth can begin to atrophy when chewing no longer stimulates the jawbone. When this atrophy becomes severe, often too little natural jawbone is left to support a standard dental implant without performing a bone grafting procedure before implant placement.
However, mini implants can often go to patients with severe jawbone loss without the need for a bone grafting procedure before placement, because less natural bone is removed before these implants are placed.
Mini Implants Have a Slightly Higher Failure Rate
Mini implants do have a slightly higher failure rate than traditional implants. While only a small percentage of traditional dental implants fail over time, mini implants do have a failure rate that often ranges higher than that. This higher failure rate is mainly due to the fact that these small-diameter implants are more likely to bend and break when subjected to extreme force when chewing.
However, you can reduce the chance of the failure of any type of dental implant by caring for it properly as your dentist instructs. Be sure to follow implant aftercare instructions to aid post osseointegration and reduce the chance of implant infection.
In addition, avoid chewing on very hard foods, such as hard candies, and using your teeth as tools when you have a mini implant in place. Avoid placing excess stress on the implant, which could contribute to implant failure over time.
Consider these four mini implant facts when deciding if you may be a good candidate for mini implant placement. Contact the dental professionals at Valley Oak Dental Group to discuss all of your dental implant options today. We look forward to speaking with you.