Mini implants are the smaller versions of the popular tooth replacement, dental implants. Dental implants are currently the most highly recommended replacement treatment for missing teeth. Dentists promote the use of dental implants because they are comfortable and easier for the patients to deal with. It is also a sound treatment option as it does not affect other teeth.
However, there are some cases wherein dental implants cannot be possibly used. For example, if the tooth that has to be replaced is small and left a very limited space, or if the tooth is an incisor or a pre-molar tooth, it will be pretty difficult to successfully and effectively put in dental implants. In such cases, the miniature version of implants comes into play.
Mini Dental Implants – A Crash Course for the Dental Patient
- An Overview of Mini Dental Implants
- How Much Does It Cost?
- The Implant Procedure
- Special Implant Cases
1. An Overview of Mini Dental Implants
Mini implants are narrower than the regular-sized dental implants. The use of these smaller implants has received the approval of the FDA. The smaller implants come in different sizes too, with diameters of 1.8 mm, 2.1 mm, 2.4 mm, and 2.9 mm and lengths of 10 mm, 13 mm, 15 mm, and 18 mm. Technically they are the same size as a toothpick, and are far less costly than the regular implants.
Despite the size, they are also really solid, made using a slim titanium rod, so you don’t need to worry about it. The head is attached to a ball-like tip with a rubber o-ring, which holds the denture in place so that the denture can rest on top of the gums.
2. How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of mini tooth implants vary according to each dentist you go to and your location. Generally, they cost around one third to one quarter of the cost of the standard dental implant size.
If you want to further reduce what it costs you to get a small implant, you can apply for a dental insurance plan or a discount dental program that offers coverage or discounts for the said procedure.
3. The Mini Tooth Implant Procedure
The procedure required by the mini tooth implant treatment is different from the procedure of placing the regular dental implant. The mini implants procedure is a lot more sensitive since the area involved in the operation is very narrow and limited. Therefore, not all dentists can perform this procedure because specialized training is required.
The procedure itself, however, is quicker. In fact, the whole thing can be done in the same day the patient checks in to the clinic. Since they are pretty small, the tiny implants are simply implanted through the gums into the jawbone by making a small drilled hole using a small screwdriver. The procedure usually does not require incisions in the gums. Once the implant is in, the dentist will use a small ratchet wrench to make sure it is securely in place.
The entire process can be completed in just an hour. You can walk out of the dentist’s office with the implants in place. You are also allowed to eat after the procedure, but only light meals at first.
4. Special Implant Cases
Due to their very small sizes, these smaller implants are also very useful in solving problems associated with the regular implants. There are several special cases wherein the dental implant procedure cannot be executed due to some problems. For example, one common hindrance to getting regular implants is the lack of sufficient bone to accommodate the implants.
In such cases, dentists have to do a bone graft procedure first. But the biggest size of mini tooth implants is almost the same size, at 2.9 diameter, as the regular implant, but with a shorter length, so it can be easily accommodated even without a bone graft.
Another special case where mini dental implants are used is in fixing loose dentures.
Are You A Candidate For Mini Implants?
Before asking for a mini dental implant, make sure you are the right candidate for it. To determine whether this option is appropriate for you, your dentist will conduct a bone density test and check whether there is sufficient bone to support the implant. Also, patients who are frequent smokers and who regularly take immuno-suppressants don’t have a good history with mini implants.