Mini Dental Implants Overview
Like other types of dental implants, mini dental implants (or MDIs) are titanium screws inserted into the jaw bone. Most commonly, they are used to hold a single artificial tooth, which is placed directly on top of the screw. Some small-diameter dental implants are used as anchors for other devices, such as dentures, rather than to replace a single missing tooth. MDIs, in particular, are commonly used to anchor a set of lower dentures, providing a more secure fit.
The main difference between mini and regular dental implants is the diameter of the implant. Mini implants have a diameter of less than 3 millimeters, while standard implants usually have an implant of between 4 and 5 millimeters. Currently-available mini dental implants range in diameter from f 1.8mm to 2.9mm. Mini dental implants differ in the length of the screw used. It has been found that implant strength is based on the length – rather than the diameter – of the implant. As a result, mini dental implants have the same strength as full-sized implants.
Because the implant itself is smaller, mini implants are preferred for smaller gaps, such as those created when an incisor or small tooth is missing. Conventional implants may be too large to fill this space; a mini implant provides the opportunity to replace a tooth of any size, even if the gap is narrow.
The process of inserting an MDI is much the same as for a conventional implant, although it may be accomplished much faster due to the smaller size of the titanium screw. This is a two-part process. First, a small hole is drilled into the jaw bone, and the titanium implant is inserted into the bone. Then, this area is allowed to heal for several weeks, giving a chance for the screw to fuse to the bone in a process known as osseointegration. During the second stage of the process, this screw is uncovered and an artificial tooth is inserted on top of the screw.
Mini implants have several advantages over their larger-sized counterparts. MDIs are considered to be a simpler, more affordable approach to implant dentistry. Mini dental implants are usually about half the cost of conventional implants, both due to the reduction in size and the shorter surgical process needed to insert them.
Another advantage is healing time. Because mini implants are smaller, the procedure is considered less invasive, with a shorter treatment time and faster recovery. Due to their smaller size, it is less likely that bone grafts will be required in order to provide enough jaw bone for the implant to be anchored securely. Because of these factors, MDIs are a faster option when compared with conventional dental implants.
How Much Do Mini Dental Implants Cost?