Not everyone is a good candidate for using full-size dental implants to replace teeth. Fortunately, mini implants may be an option for some. At our two locations in Virginia, you can choose between standard dental implants and mini dental implants.
The best way to determine what is right for your smile is to schedule a consultation. Call 804-607-9348 for Mathews, VA and 804-455-8263 for Deltaville today to make your appointment at Lennon Dental Center. In the meantime, check out our primer on implants.
What Are Mini Dental Implants?
Like standard implants, mini dental implants serve as replacement tooth roots when they are placed into your jaw. To replace missing teeth, we can attach a dental crown, dental bridge, or even dentures to them. A common use for them is to stabilize dentures in your lower jaw. The primary difference is the size. Traditional implants are typically 3.25 to 5 millimeters in diameter. In contrast, mini implants are less than 3 millimeters. Mini implants are also one piece, while standard implants are comprised of two parts.
Should I Get Mini Implants? Yes
There are many reasons Dr. Lennon might recommend minis rather than full-size implants for you. Bone loss is a common reason. When you lose teeth, you also lose bone mass in your jaw – up to 25 percent in the first year alone. If you’ve lost bone, your jaw simply may not be strong enough to support full-size implants. Other reasons for recommending a mini implant procedure:
- They Are Less Expensive – If budget is a primary consideration, mini dental implants cost less than full-size ones. In many cases, they can also be used with your existing dentures, for an added cost savings.
- They Work Well in Small Spaces – They can be a good choice to replace small teeth and will fit better in areas of your mouth where space is tight.
- Placement Is Less Invasive – If it takes longer for you to heal due to a medical condition or because you are older, mini implants may work well for you. That’s because the process to place them is easier on your jaw.
Should I Get Mini Dental Implants? Maybe Not
Given their smaller size, you may wonder if mini dental implants perform as well as traditional implants. Since minis haven’t been used as long as other kinds of implants, we don’t know as much about their long-term performance. Still, early results seem promising. This study from 2017 compared results of dental crowns secured with full-size implants and mini implants and found little difference after three years.
That said, Dr. Lennon is less likely to recommend dental implants when:
- They’ll be in areas of your mouth where your teeth are under a lot of pressure when chewing
- You don’t have enough vertical bone in place to support them
You Have Other Dental Implant Treatment Options
If you need full implants and don’t have the required bone structure, Dr. Lennon can perform oral surgeries that prepare your mouth for implant treatment, including bone grafts and sinus lifts. Your gums also need to be in good shape for implants. If they’re not, he can restore them to health with a gum graft.
Dr. Lennon also has the special training to perform an advanced implant procedure called the All-on-4. It can be used to secure a complete arch of replacement teeth with just four implants. It can be used in either the upper or lower jaw or both jaws. It offers many of the same benefits as mini implants, including lower cost.