Everything About Mini Dental Implants
Written by Scripps West Dental
Mini dental implants are a smaller version of traditional implants. They’re an excellent alternative treatment for our Mira Mesa clients who might not want or qualify for conventional implant designs.
How do Mini Implants Work?
Mira Mesa mini dental implants are, simply put, a miniaturized version of “regular” dental implants. They are about half the width and half the length of a full implant. Keep in mind, traditional implants are about the same size as an anatomical tooth root.
Mini implants work exactly the same way as full implants, but they require less space to install. However, their shorter length does limit the situations where we can use them, as they typically don’t support as much weight as a full-sized implant. But they’re the perfect alternative for spaces where an implant needs to be installed, and there isn’t enough room (usually because of bone loss or space between teeth.)
Who is a Candidate for Mini Implants?
Most people who get mini implants are individuals that don’t qualify for full-sized traditional implants.
Why would someone not be able to get full implants installed? Usually because of a lack of bone support. Since implants—like anatomical teeth—need to be fully surrounded by bone tissue, a thinning or short bone ridge means it isn’t physically possible to install them. A smaller version that can be placed into narrow bone can still be installed and properly supported.
What causes thin or shrinking (resorbing) bone? Circumstances like:
- Missing teeth
- Periodontal disease
- Extracted teeth
- Extended denture wear
Normally, we can rebuild bone through an augmentation (grafting) process. Like when placing implants in the upper back area of the mouth, alongside a sinus lift. But there are circumstances where augmentation or other surgeries may not be ideal, so a mini implant is used instead.
Other candidates for mini dental implants are denture wearers who want added support for their prostheses. Perhaps it rubs or lifts throughout the day, and denture adhesive isn’t helping. In those scenarios, we can sometimes retrofit the denture so that it snaps or clips onto 2-4 mini dental implants to help hold it in place during the day but is still removable at night.
Benefits of Mini Implants
Since mini dental implants are so small, we can safely install them in areas of your mouth where you might not qualify for a full-sized implant design. Since lack of bone is one of the leading requirements that disqualify people from getting dental implants, mini implants open up a door of opportunity for people with missing teeth.
Plus, mini dental implants can usually be installed in a same-day procedure. Since the mini implants process is quite straightforward, there is no integration period or surgery to plan for. The small restoration can be installed and restored in one or two visits at most. The minimally-invasive nature of the implant only requires local numbing medication at the site of installation; sedation options are rarely ever required and there is practically no recovery time needed.
What is Mini Implants Treatment Capable of Doing?
A mini dental implant can fit in places that a full, traditional implant cannot. The thinner and shorter design makes it safe enough to install the implant between lower front teeth, where there is little space and potentially a very narrow bone ridge.
Mini implants can also be placed throughout the mouth to secure a removable overdenture (implant-stabilized denture.) These implant-supported denture designs are a cross between conventional “plates” and fixed All-on-4 systems.
As scaled-down versions of individual implants, mini implants can replace individual teeth on a case-by-case basis. Particularly if it’s a tooth that isn’t used for heavy biting or chewing pressure (like lower front teeth.)
Our Mira Mesa dental practice offers comprehensive dental implant therapy—including mini implant designs—for our clients with missing teeth. As a multi-specialty practice, Scripps West Dental is able to ensure advanced care for patients who might not otherwise be able to access or qualify for implant treatment in a general care setting. Contact our Mira Mesa implant experts today to request a consultation!