Mini dental implants are one of the more popular ways to replace missing teeth. These prosthetics can be used to replace a missing tooth or to secure other dental appliances like dentures and bridges.
What are mini dental implants?
These oral prosthetic are smaller than their traditional counterparts. They are about the same diameter as a toothpick, somewhere between 1.8 and 2.9 millimeters.
People with diminished jawbone tissue or conditions like osteoporosis are often good candidates for mini dental implants. Dentists prefer to use them to replace front teeth since these teeth do not deal with as much bite forces as back teeth like molars do. Traditional implants are larger than mini implants, so they provide a more stable base, making them better suited for teeth that deal with lots of bite forces.
Mini implants provide several benefits over traditional implants:
- MDIs can be installed during a single appointment. There are no incisions made when the implant is being installed. It goes through the gum tissue and into jawbone tissue. This less invasive approach leads to shorter recovery times for the patient.
- Mini dental implants are typically a more affordable option than traditional implants.
- There is less risk of a surgical error, such as the implant striking a nerve during its installation.
- An MDI can be used in areas with thin jawbone tissue. It can typically be used in situations where a traditional implant would require bone grafts before installation.
While mini dental implants provide many benefits, they are not right for every scenario. These prosthetics also have few drawbacks. MDIs are not as stable as traditional implants and are more likely to be damaged by teeth grinding. These implants also may not last as long as traditional implants, which can often last for a patient's lifetime.
What goes on during the installation of mini dental implants?
The procedure usually starts with the dentist examining the patient during an initial consultation. The oral professional will go over the medical history and perform diagnostic tests such as X-rays. Once the dentist has determined MDIs are the way to go, a date will be set for the surgery.
During the surgical installation of the mini dental implant, a shot of anesthetic will be administered near the surgery site. The implant is then inserted directly into the patient's jawbone, going through the gum.
The patient should then be given a period time, usually up to about six months, for the implant to fuse with surrounding bone tissue. The process is called osseointegration and it ensures the implant is firmly held in place just like a real tooth's root. Once this process is complete, a crown is attached to the implant to replace the lost tooth.
If you like the idea of implants but are looking for something a bit less invasive, mini dental implants may be the way to go. A dentist can explain more about these oral prosthetics and help you get started with treatment.
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