You’ve decided to get dental implants. But the dentist has told you that the process takes anywhere from six to eight months to complete. And, by the way, you don’t have enough bone to accept the implants and need to have bone grafts placed six months before the implant procedure begins. It’s overwhelming. It sounds expensive and time-consuming. What do you do? Are there any alternatives?
What Are Mini-Implant Dentures?
Mini-dental implants are a smaller version of traditional titanium dental implants. Like their counterparts, they can provide a permanent structure to preserve the jawbone and replace the missing teeth with an implant-supported denture. They are suitable for patients who wear or plan to wear dentures and want to experience the benefits that denture stabilization has to offer but maybe don’t have the sufficient bone quantity to secure full-sized implants without first having bone grafting surgery.
The Process of Getting Mini-Implant Dentures
The process of getting mini-dental implants begins with an x-ray and examination by your dentist to determine if they are an appropriate treatment option to address your specific needs. If you are a good candidate for the procedure, the dentist will arrange for the treatment, which involves anesthetizing the gums and placing the implants into the jawbone, usually in a single visit. The procedure is often simpler and less invasive than traditional implant placement.
Because of their one-piece design, all of the components necessary to connect a denture to the implants are already present. Provided that all of the mini-implants gain immediate stability upon placement, the denture can be secured onto the implants the same day the implant procedure is performed.
In cases where the implants are less secure, the dentist may elect to hollow out your existing denture so that it will fit over the implants while your mouth heals from the procedure. At a later time, a new denture is made to include the attachments that allow the denture to snap into place, making it function much like natural teeth.
Caring for Mini-Implant Dentures
Like any dental treatment, success depends on how the patient cares for their mouth at home. The mini-implant denture must be removed and cleaned regularly to serve you for the lifetime of the denture. A special brush is used to clean around the implants daily.
Patients must also examine the mini-dental implants to ensure they remain secure within the jawbone. If you notice swollen tissue, pain, or implant mobility, contact your dental professional immediately. The rubber O-ring attaching the denture to the post also needs to be replaced regularly as they wear out and become less secure with time. Above all, see your dental professional at least once per year for a professional cleaning around the implants and to prevent minor irritations from turning into major issues.
Disadvantages of Mini-Implant Dentures
Although they possess advantages that we will later outline, mini-dental implants have a few drawbacks. Among them are:
Compared with traditional dental implants, they tend to be less stable. They don’t undergo the same osseointegration process and rely mostly on physical retention for stability. Because of their long and narrow design, they don’t work well for replacing individual teeth with crowns.
If you grind your teeth, mini-dental implants will fail under the force. However, it is possible to prevent this issue by wearing a night guard.
Even though less bone quantity is required, you still must have a healthy jawbone in the right locations with enough bone height to accommodate the length of the mini-implants.
Mini-dental implants are often considered temporary anchoring devices and are not meant to permanently replace extracted teeth. Often, they are used by dentists to accommodate immediate denture loading, while traditional wide-body implants undergo osseointegration. That being said, I have personally seen mini-dental implants that are very stable and have lasted for more than 10 years, depending upon the forces they are subjected to and the care they receive.
Benefits of Mini-Implant Dentures
Dental implants, in general, offer many benefits, including increased denture comfort, better chewing ability, and the preservation of jawbone, which stimulates bone function and creates a purpose for the bone level to remain intact. Specifically, mini-dental implants provide other benefits that traditional implants don’t offer:
A smaller implant means a smaller surgical opening, a faster healing process, and a less invasive experience. This is one of the biggest benefits of getting mini-implants.
Since they’re smaller in size, involve using less material for manufacturing, and use a more streamlined treatment approach, mini-dental implant surgery is usually significantly cheaper when compared to traditional implant placement.
Because of their one-piece design, mini-dental implants can usually be placed within a single office visit and do not require additional surgery to uncover them for attaching dentures. That way, you can experience all of the benefits of stabilized dentures sooner without requiring additional follow-up procedures.
Who Should Get Mini-Implant Dentures?
Anyone who wears dentures, especially a lower denture, will benefit from denture stabilization. Lower dentures are notoriously loose; even a well-fitting lower denture will become loose as bone resorption naturally progresses. The key to long-term success is to give the jawbone a purpose to prevent it from dissolving away.
Not every denture patient is able to have the ideal treatment that multiple traditional implants provide. Mini-dental implants allow patients to experience the same benefits without undergoing invasive pre-implant bone grafting procedures to increase bone width and height. If you fall into this category, you may be a good candidate for alternative mini-implant denture treatment.
Mini-Implant Dentures with European Denture Center
Who says traditional implants are the only option for denture stabilization? While full-sized implants do offer certain advantages, mini-implant dentures could be the perfect solution for you. The caring professionals at European Denture Center will guide you through a number of scenarios to help you arrive at a dental treatment plan that balances your needs, wants, and desires with your finances.
The solution to wearing better-fitting dentures that remain secure is only a consultation visit away!