A mini dental implant is a miniature-sized titanium dental implant that, like full-size dental implants, functions as a “replacement root” when one or more teeth are missing. Dentures, crowns and bridges are placed on top of a mini dental implant, and held in placed, either permanently or so that they can be removed.
Dental implants can successfully and predictably replace missing teeth, giving patients options they did not have in the past! By anchoring directly into the jawbone, they provide a stable tooth replacement that causes no damage to the neighboring teeth. They stand alone and function as well, if not better than, a natural tooth.
Why Are Mini-Dental Implants an Exciting Treatment Option?
Not everyone is a candidate for dental implants because of their more invasive nature and the minimum requirements of jawbone. Mini-implants are minimally invasive and require much less bone structure for support. Mini-implants are an exciting treatment option in sites where dental implants are not.
There are several scenarios that make mini-dental implants a great choice.
- A person missing a single, small front tooth
- Someone with a loose denture
- A patient with an existing partial that is loose
- Someone who wears a denture over very thin jawbone and often gets sore spots
- A person missing multiple teeth, and the existing teeth are not strong enough to hold a partial
- A patient who is not healthy enough to undergo invasive oral surgery for traditional dental implants
- Someone with difficulty managing pain and healing
In general, mini-implants are the alternative. When a patient is missing one or more teeth, the first few treatment options given are usually removable partials, cemented bridges, or traditional dental implants. Mini-implants are the alternative to those traditional options. One reason you may not receive the option of mini-implants is that a certain dental office may not offer them. At Sorrento Dental Care, we proudly offer multiple treatment options for our patients in order to meet each one’s unique needs.
How Mini-Dental Implants Work
Mini-implants work just like traditional dental implants. They are just smaller. They consist of a small root replacement made of titanium, and it integrates into the jawbone in the same way that a traditional implant does. The mini-implant can support different types of attachments depending on what type of dental restoration it will anchor. The attachment for a denture is different from the attachment for a single tooth crown.
Because mini-implants transfer any chewing forces directly into the jawbone, there is no damage or stress applied to neighboring teeth. This gives the existing teeth a healthier and longer lifespan!
The Mini-Dental Implant Process
During actual implant placement, you should feel no pain! We use local anesthetic to make the entire area around the surgical site completely numb. This numbness does not remove the sensation of pressure, though, so you might feel the movement and pressure of the implant placement. As the dentist creates space for the mini-implant and places it into the jawbone, you may feel some minor pushing or pressure. You are always in control, so if you need to take a break or have more local anesthetic, you only have to tell us.
The placement of mini-implants is much less invasive than that of traditional dental implants and dental extractions. Mini-implants do not require a “flap”, which is opening the gum tissue. This leads to faster surgery and faster healing. Most patients experience no discomfort at all!
Healing from a Mini-Dental Implant
Following your dentist’s post-operative instructions closely is the most important step in the healing process for any dental surgery. Because a mini-implant is minimally invasive, the healing process is shorter and less painful than that of an extraction or traditional implant. This is one of the reasons mini-implants are such a great treatment option for patients with medical complications that might affect their ability to heal.
In general, you will only need to take over-the-counter pain medications for the first 2-3 days and avoid chewing on that side of your mouth for the specified amount of time. There is minimal swelling and bleeding after this procedure.