If you’re in the market for a dental implant, you might have come across something called a mini dental implant. We don’t offer those here at Affiliated Dentists in Madison, Wisconsin because we don’t believe they serve our patients well. Here’s a few reasons why there are big problems with mini implants:
- What is a Dental Implant?
- Mini vs. Traditional Implant
- Mini Implants’ Big Problems
What is a Dental Implant?
First, let’s get to know the mini implant’s big brother: the traditional dental implant. Around for more than forty years, the traditional dental implant has been one of the biggest advances in modern dentistry.
Comprised of a titanium alloy, the implant is a 3.4-5.8 millimeter-wide post that is inserted into the patient’s jawbone. Once the bone has matured around the post, which can take 6-8 weeks, the implant is ready for the abutment on top, and then the crown is placed last.
The crown is designed to look just like the patient’s natural teeth. The end result is a solid, long-lasting tooth that functions just like a normal tooth.
Mini vs. Traditional Implants
As the name implies, mini implants are like traditional implants, only smaller and structured differently. Mini implants are much narrower, measuring between 1.8 to 3.3 millimeters in width, and resemble a toothpick. They are only one piece as they do not have an abutment.
Because of their design, mini implants can be screwed directly into the jaw bone. Their smaller size requires less bone to hold it in place.
The benefits of mini implants are that you can have the surgery done more quickly, cheaply, and return to normal eating faster than having traditional dental implants placed.
That sounds pretty great! But we believe that the downsides of mini implants far outweigh the benefits.
Problems with Mini Implants
Still relatively new to the market, not much research has been done on mini implants. What we do know, however, is that mini implants are less durable than traditional implants. Their small size and structure makes them weaker than traditional implants. Traditional implants have a success rate around 95-98%. The success rate for mini implants is less, ranging from 87-94%.
Traditional implants are made of three pieces, the implant, the abutment, and the crown that sits on top. A mini implant, however, is one piece, a toothpick-shaped implant whose top remains above the gum line. With a traditional implant, the implant can be placed in an area with optimal bone density and then the abutment can be angled to put the crown in the best tooth position. This allows for optimal pressure distribution when the jaw is engaged.
Since mini implants are one piece, it’s more difficult to ensure that the crown will be placed in the perfect location, which can cause the crown to fracture and place unequal pressure on the teeth and jaws, causing further oral problems. The small size of the implant also means that it can take less pressure from chewing than normal implants. This is especially problematic for patients who grind their teeth.
Although traditional implants are unlikely to break, if something were to happen, usually only the abutment and perhaps the crown would need to be replaced. With the mini implant, however, the entire implant and crown would need to be replaced, which would require the expense and difficulty of undergoing an additional surgery.
Dental Implants in Madison, Wisconsin
We are passionate about restoring our patients’ teeth so that they can enjoy a healthy lifestyle with a happy smile. If you are interested in dental implants, please make an appointment with us today. Affiliated Dentists offers cosmetic dentistry and dental implants in Madison, Wisconsin.
Big Problems with Mini Implants brought to you by Dr. Mark Gustavson