If you have severely decayed, damaged, or even missing teeth, you are probably aware of the many tooth replacement options. But, have you heard about the restorative miracle that are dental implants? Made from titanium, dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are implanted into the jawbone to act as an anchor for a dental prosthesis.
However, what many people don’t realize is that there are different types of dental implants that can be used. Other than traditional dental implants, the most commonly used type are mini dental implants, which have also been referred to as narrow dental implants or simply “MDIs”.
Since many people are unaware of the wonder that are mini implants, here are three of the top things to know about mini dental implants. In learning more about mini implants, it becomes easier to find the best dental implants to replace missing teeth and complete your smile makeover.
As you probably guessed from their name, mini dental implants are titanium implants that are smaller in size than traditional dental implants. In fact, mini implants are only about half the diameter of traditional dental implants. Additionally, the composition of the two types of implants varies as well. A traditional dental implant is composed of three parts: the implant screw, the abutment (connector) piece, and the dental prosthesis. With mini dental implants, however, the implant screw is topped with a ball connector. This means that the implant screw and dental prosthesis are the only components.
Require Less Bone Mass
Since mini implants are smaller in diameter, they require less bone mass to hold them in place. For this reason, mini dental implants are ideal for elderly patients, as well as those who have a lack of bone mass as a result of missing teeth. While a bone graft for dental implants of a larger size are often required for safe placement, in most cases mini dental implants can safely be placed without one. However because of their smaller size and lack of bone mass requirements, mini dental implants are not as durable nor do they last as long as traditional dental implants.
Despite their small size, mini dental implants are extremely versatile in the types of dental prosthesis they can support. In most cases, mini dental implants are able to support dental crowns, bridges, and implant retained dentures. Implant retained dentures are permanent dentures that are usually placed will all on four dental implants. This means that four implants will be placed on the top or bottom arch to act as anchor points for an implant retained denture. Cases where both the top and bottom arch require implants are known as full mouth dental implants. Full mouth dental implants and all on four dental implants are commonly used for dental reconstruction or smile makeover purposes. To learn more about a full mouth reconstruction, see “Full Arch Implant Supported Teeth in a Day”.
Overall mini dental implants are a unique variation of dental implants whose structure can support a range of dental prosthesis with similar results to those of traditional implants. While their small size is beneficial for patients with significant bone loss, it can also cause them to wear out faster. To determine if mini implants are the best dental implant for you, a consultation with a dental implant professional is needed.
Dr. Gregory J. Young is a Diplomate and board certified by the American Board of Oral Implantology/Implant Dentistry. He is also an Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. Additionally, he provides education, training and mentoring to his colleagues in all phases of implant dentistry. He has over 37 years of experience and dedicates his practice solely to implant dentistry and training.