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.
A mini-dental implant is very similar to a traditional dental implant, only much smaller.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a mini-dental implant replace a missing tooth?
Yes! A mini-implant is a great option for replacing individual front teeth, but we usually restrict them to lateral incisors, which are the smallest teeth in your mouth. These are also the most common congenitally missing teeth (meaning people just don’t form these teeth), so this is a wonderful option for a prevalent problem.
Can mini-dental implants support dentures?
Yes! Min-implants are a wonderful treatment for patients who need to add retention to their dentures. Over time, the lower jaw gets narrower. As the jawbone and overlying gum tissue get smaller, the dentures get looser. A loose denture is not just embarrassing; it can cause painful sore spots as it moves around. By placing mini-implants with denture connectors, the formerly loose denture has something to attach to, which eliminates any looseness.
In the case of supporting a denture, typically multiple mini-implants spread out across the jaw give the best results. We can go over your exact needs and help you choose the best number for your situation.
Are mini-dental implants expensive?
No. In comparison to traditional dental implants, mini-implants cost less. This is because the implants themselves are less expensive and because they require a shorter surgical procedure. They are a wonderful, cost-effective way to replace missing teeth.
Are mini-dental implants safe?
Yes. Because of their small size, it is very unlikely that a mini-implant would cause any complications with important anatomical structures in the upper and lower jaws. There is very little risk for post-operative infection or extensive bleeding.
Do mini-dental implants hurt?
During the actual dental procedure, no, they should not hurt. After the procedure, during the healing phase, there is typically some minor post-operative pain. This type of pain is usually much less severe than that associated with extractions and traditional dental implants simply because a much smaller area of gum and bone is involved.
All post-operative pain after a mini-implant procedure is easily managed with over-the-counter pain medications, like Advil or Tylenol.
How long does it take to heal from a mini-dental implant?
Every person heals at a different rate based on his or her overall health. On average, in a healthy adult, the gums will heal around the mini-implant in two to five days. You can see and feel this healing process.
The next phase of healing involves the jawbone healing into the tiny threads of the mini-implant. This typically takes around 3 months in a healthy adult. This process is not visible to the naked eye. We will monitor the healing and stability of your mini-implant to ensure its long-term success.
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