February 28, 2022
One of the most preferred methods of replacing missing teeth, dental implants allow people to restore their smiles and comfortable eating.
However, conventional dental implants may not be suitable for everyone.
Mini implants offer a choice for people who cannot opt for traditional Dental Implants.
Similar to conventional implants, they are much smaller in size. Though relatively new to the dental industry, they have fast become popular because of their benefits.
Mini Implants are composed of two parts, a titanium piece that has a ball on each end and a socket piece with a ring shaped like an “O” made of rubber that fits around the tooth.
Though Mini dental implants are proving to be a great option for restoration replacement, there are always questions about the advantages and disadvantages of any procedure especially when it is still new.
Advantages of Mini Dental Implants
There are many advantages of mini implants as compared to traditional implants:
Quick and Easy to Place
Mini Implants are quicker and easier to place, as compared to conventional implants.
Not needing an incision in the gum or stitches, the procedure can be as quick as 30 minutes, not requiring additional surgery to place an abutment because they are made of one solid piece of metal.
Less Invasive Procedure
As a smaller surgical opening is needed to place these implants, Mini Implants have a minimal healing time and are a relatively less invasive experience.
The post-surgery experience of conventional dental implants can be uncomfortable and painful for a few days to a week.
However, mini dental implants come with minimal discomfort which is usually confined to a few days.
Mini implants are considerably cheaper than traditional implants since they are smaller, use less material, and have a simpler and faster treatment methodology.
Mini dental implants offer the same solution as traditional implants but they often offer better aesthetics than traditional dental implants.
No Need for Bone Grafts
Even for the patients who have experienced some bone loss, it is usually not necessary to get a bone graft because mini implants are a lot smaller in size, and can be placed in jawbones that may not have as much bone as required for traditional implants for use and function.
Disadvantages of Mini Dental Implants
Just like any other dental treatment, Mini Implants have got some shortcomings, too.
Some of the disadvantages of Mini implants are:
Mini implants are usually less stable than traditional dental implants and for that reason, multiple mini implants are often needed to stabilize a set of implant-supported dentures or a dental bridge as compared to the one or two traditional implants required for the same purpose.
Not a Good Option for Those Who Grind Their Teeth
Mini implants can get damaged and worn down much more quickly than traditional implants for those who grind their teeth.
However, this issue can be prevented by using a nightguard.
Healthy Jaw Bone Needed
Though Mini Dental Implants do not need as much bone material as a traditional implant, a healthy jaw bone with enough vertical bone is still a prerequisite to support and accommodate a mini implant.
Other Shortcomings of Mini Dental Implants
Mini dental implants cannot be used in areas that have little vertical bone as the screws of these implants are long to ensure stability.
Damage to mini implants implies the removal of the whole thing and implantation all over again. This can make the process longer and more traumatizing for the patient.
How Long Do Mini Dental Implants Last
There is still no certain answer to how long mini-implants can last. However, there are a few conditions that may contribute to their lifespan.
Some studies show that mini dental implants can also last as long as traditional dental implants with adequate care and a few other factors.
However, below are some key factors that may increase the lifespan of the implants.
An implant be it Conventional or Mini can be retained to last longer if good oral hygiene is maintained and practiced each day.
Regular good oral hygiene helps to ensure that the implant or artificial tooth is not damaged by bacteria, thus increasing their longevity.
One must avoid biting nails or using teeth to open bottles for other reasons too but these habits can be exceptionally damaging to the mini dental implants.
Though Mini implants are strong and durable, just like any other dental equipment, they too can suffer damage and be worn down if not cared for properly.
However, there is a limit to the force Mini Implants can withstand and thus mini implants usually have a shorter lifespan of 6–9 years, as compared to conventional implants that have a lifespan of over 15 years or much more if maintained properly.
However, both Mini dental implants and normal implants can fail before their expected time, if they are not taken care of properly or due to other medical problems.
Dr. Gaurav Sharma, a highly acclaimed Dental Implant specialist with more than 400 hours of continuing education credits for dental implant training says, ‘On the whole, traditional implants provide patients with a more long-term solution than mini implants because of better weight distribution and less stress on the jawbone in the long-term, providing a stronger chewing force as their surface area is more as compared to the mini implants.’
The rubber O-ring attaching the mini implant to the post also needs replacement throughout its lifespan as they tend to wear out and become loose
Mini dental implants are usually more useful to stabilize dentures, so they are mostly suitable for older patients who have lost teeth in the past which has resulted in bone loss, which means bone grafting is needed for conventional implants.
That being a more invasive procedure can be difficult to be endured by older patients and Mini implants can prove to be a better option here.
However, no two patients are alike. If you’re interested in dental implants and are looking for help choosing between mini implants and traditional implants, Kirkland Premier Dentistry is here to help you.
Dr. Gaurav Sharma a dentist from Kirkland has 400+ hours of Continuing education from the prestigious AAID (American Academy of Implant Dentistry).
Book an appointment with Dr. Gaurav Sharma to discuss the pros and cons of mini implants in further detail and assess your mouth and your oral health, to determine which treatment will be more suitable for you.