Mini Dental Implants vs Traditional Implants
Mini dental implants are among the newest innovations in restoration dentistry. Over the past several decades, mini implants have become increasingly popular options for patients looking to replace one or more missing teeth. Both mini and traditional dental implants are devices used to fill the gap created when a natural tooth is missing. Each is topped with an artificial tooth, or crown, to replicate the appearance and function of a tooth.
Both mini and traditional dental implants consist of a titanium screw inserted into the bone of the jaw. They are typically used to anchor a single artificial tooth. Some are also used as anchors for dentures or other dental appliances. While they serve the same purpose, there are some important differences between mini dental implants vs. traditional implants.
The major difference is in the diameter of the metal screw. Mini dental implants measure less than 3mm in diameter. Traditional or standard implants are usually 4-5mm in size. Because of their smaller size, mini implants are often used for smaller gaps, like those created when an incisor is missing. They are also preferable when using implants to anchor dentures. Conventional implants are more often used when replacing a large tooth, such as a molar.
Mini and traditional implants are both made of titanium. Tests have shown that the strength of dental implants is based on the length of the screw, rather than its diameter. Despite their smaller size, mini dental implants are as strong as full-sized implants. However, some dentists believe that mini implants cannot take as much chewing force as traditional ones. For this reason, traditional implants are usually preferred for replacing molars.
The procedure to insert the implant is the same whether a mini or traditional implant is used. However, this procedure tends to be faster for mini implants because of the smaller diameter of the screw. With both mini and traditional implants, a small hole is drilled into the bone, allowing the insertion of the titanium screw. Then, it is allowed to heal for several weeks, during which time the screw fuses with the bone. In a second procedure, the artificial tooth is placed on top of the implant itself. The required healing time is shorter with mini implants than with traditional implants.
Because of their smaller size and the shorter surgical process required for insertion, mini implants tend to be a more affordable option. Usually, they are approximately half the cost of traditional implants.
Mini implants are a relatively new innovation, while traditional implants have been used for many years, and have an established record of success. More dentists are familiar with traditional dental implants. Still, mini dental implants are quickly becoming recognized for their high success rate and additional benefits, and their popularity continues to grow.
Each type of dental implant has both pros and cons. There are a number of factors affecting the success of dental implants for a particular patient. The choice of implant type is one that should be made in consultation with your dentist.