When you find yourself in need of having some teeth pulled, there are many options dentists can utilize to fill in the gaps. Dentists will typically replace said teeth through the use of dental implants, dentures, or dental bridges.
Unlike bridges or dentures, dental implants are placed into a patient’s jawbone and more permanent fixture. Many patients can prefer these because they do not tend to slip or shift over time.
What Are Mini Dental Implants?
Mini dental implants are similar in structure to regular implants but come in a slightly smaller model. According to the Mini Dental Implant Centers of America (MDICA), they are composed of two parts. The first is a titanium piece that has a ball on each end. The second is a socket piece with a ring-shaped like an “O” made of rubber and fits around the tooth.
Disadvantages of Mini Dental Implants vs. Traditional Implants
Both traditional implants and mini implants have their advantages and disadvantages. Since mini implants are roughly half the size of traditional ones, the patient will typically need two minis to do the job of a traditional implant. Because of this, there can be more stress put on the jawbone, which can lead to a longer healing time than those who opt for the traditional implant.
Overall, traditional implants provide the patient with a more long-term solution than mini implants do. This is due to the fact that they provide better weight distribution and place less stress on the jawbone in the long-term.
Traditional implants also provide a stronger chewing force due to their larger surface area compared to mini implants. The rubber O-ring that attaches the mini implant to the post also has to be replaced throughout its lifespan as they tend to wear out and become loose.
Other Downfalls to Mini Dental Implants
Mini dental implants have other downfalls as well. They can’t be used in areas with little vertical bone as the screws are long to ensure stability.
If the mini implant is supporting bridges or dentures, they may require four or more implants compared to the one or two required for traditional implants. If the patient’s mini implant gets damaged, the entire thing has to be removed and reimplanted all over again, making the process longer and more traumatizing for the patient.
What Should Patients Ultimately Decide?
Overall, the decision between traditional and mini dental implants comes down to the individual health of the patient’s mouth and the discretion of the dentist. There are instances in which mini implants are going to be better, but the general consensus is that patients should lean toward the traditional option for longevity and structure over time.
Traditional implants tend to provide the patient with a stronger and more durable tooth, which will inevitably require less frequent trips for touch-ups and fixes over the implant’s lifespan.