A dental implant is an artificial tooth that is attached to a titanium rod implanted in the jawbone. A mini implant is essentially the rod without the tooth attached. It can serve as a long-term anchor for a crown, bridge or denture, which relies on the support of the mini implant itself, rather than its integration with the jaw bone. A patient who would have needed a bone graft to be a candidate for a traditional implant may be able to receive a mini implant without the graft, and have the same long-term results.
Benefits of Mini Implants
Considered a developing treatment, mini implants have several advantages over traditional implants, which may include:
- Implantation procedure is much less invasive
- Less expensive than standard-sized dental implants
- Provide a good implant option for senior citizens
Many patients use mini implants to replace small teeth and incisors, or teeth in narrow areas of the mouth. Mini implants work best as anchors for lower dentures, and are about half the price of regular implants.
The Mini Implant Procedure
Mini implants are titanium cylinders that act as a tooth root for a crown, bridge or denture. Regular implants require three to six months of osseointegration, the process in which the implant fuses with the bone. However, mini implants can be placed directly into the underlying bone, in one sitting, in a simple procedure that takes less than two hours. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia or light sedation to reduce any discomfort.
Most patients experience immediate results from mini implants and can often eat within a few hours. There are no sutures used during this procedure, and no need for the numerous follow-up appointments required by traditional implants.
Risks and Complications of Mini Implants
Mini implants are considered safer than traditional implants because of the shorter procedure time and the elimination of the osseointegration process. Infection, bleeding, gum damage and other problems are considered rare.