Mini Dental Implants: Use, Differences, & Procedure

Mini dental implants are an alternative to traditional dental implants but are typically used in situations where a smaller implant is needed to fit into a narrow location. Smaller teeth and incisors are good candidates for mini dental implants as are devices that require stabilization such as lower jaw dentures. Like traditional dental implants, mini dental implants are used to replace missing teeth with the purpose to maintain good oral health.

When are Mini Dental Implants Used?

Mini dental implants are used to restore lost teeth in the following areas:

  • Small teeth
  • Front teeth
  • Pre-molars
  • Teeth located in a narrow area

They are also used to firmly secure and hold dentures into place, providing a more trustworthy and efficient way to secure them over adhesives that can slip out of place. Denture wearers will find that dentures that are secured with mini dental implants make it easier to eat, speak, and smile with confidence.

How Big Are Mini Dental Implants?

Mini dental implants are roughly half the size of traditional dental implants, about the diameter of a toothpick. They are advantageous even to patients who have experienced significant bone loss, which can often make the traditional dental implant procedure questionable.

Difference Between Mini Dental Implants and Traditional Dental Implants

  • Mini dental implants are about half the diameter
  • Mini dental implants cost less
  • Mini implants do not contain a screw
  • In the rare event of dental implant failure, mini dental implants do not require grafting
  • Mini dental implants are less invasive, heal faster, and have shorter procedure times

Mini Dental Implants for Loose Dentures or Partials

Mini dental implants are used to provide stability to patients with dentures or partial dentures. Mini implants that are used to secure dentures are single piece implants, meaning they do not have a screw hole into which other components can be attached. A small, ball-shaped portion of the implant sticks out of the gums and snaps securely into a retaining socket contained on the inside of a denture. This creates a very stable denture which does not suffer from the common problems such as movement, popping out, and application of messy adhesives. The dentures still remain on the gum tissue but the housing in which the implant connects keeps them from slipping or clicking.

How Many Mini Implants are Needed to Support a Denture?

Typically at least four mini implants are required to secure the lower denture and at least six to secure the upper denture. Your dentist may want to place more mini dental implants to secure the denture although this is dependent on how much bone the patient has. Denture wearers who suffer from unstable dental appliances will benefit from the secured feel mini dental implants offer.

If the patient wears partial dentures then the mini implants will be placed only in the areas where the teeth are missing. Like with full dentures, the implants snap into the portion of the partial denture that is used to replace the missing teeth.

Mini Dental Implants Procedure

The mini dental implant procedure is much quicker and easier than that of the traditional dental implant and can often be performed in one office visit. Many patients can have the implants placed under local anesthetic but many patients may still opt for dental sedation. Mini dental implants are placed into the bone where no sensory nerve endings are located. This results in very little post-operative discomfort and quick recovery times. Patients are given antibiotics before and after the procedure to ensure that the mini implants do not cause infection before the bone has the chance to heal around them.

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