Dental implant technology has advanced rapidly in recent years, giving you more options than ever for replacing missing teeth. Years ago, patients who could not afford traditional dental implants or who lacked the jaw bone density to accommodate an implant were forced to accept loose-fitting dentures and partial dentures or grinding down adjacent teeth to place dental bridges to replace their missing teeth. However, the development of mini dental implants now provides you with a much less invasive, more affordable and more immediate solution to replace missing teeth and stabilizing loose dentures or partials allowing for more confidence and significantly improved chewing.
“Everyone that I have encountered at your office has been friendly and informative. I feel very lucky in finding your office. Thanks for your great service! G.R. Mesa, AZ”
Dr. LeSueur and Staff, The minute I walked into your office as a patient was probably the best day for my teeth. Dr. LeSueur, with your artistry and talent, you made my mouth beautiful. I will be forever grateful to all of you. Sincerely, L.W. Scottsdale, AZ
What Are Mini Dental Implants?
Mini dental implants are smaller versions of traditional titanium dental implants that get inserted into your jaw and will function as a replacement tooth root. The head of the mini implant forms a shape like a ball and will attach to a set of dentures to make them lock into place. This will make your dentures much more firm and stable, enabling them to withstand the strong forces exerted by chewing and allowing you to put normal chewing pressures on them comfortably.
Are They FDA Approved?
Yes, the FDA approved the mini implant in 1997. They were approved as an ongoing item, not a temporary placement.
Dental Implant Vs. Mini Dental Implant
Mini implants are much smaller than regular dental implants. Additionally, mini implants are unlike traditional dental implants because they do not require good jaw bone thickness for placement. In fact, mini implants are an excellent option for patients who lack sufficient bone thickness to accommodate a traditional dental implant.
What Are The Benefits Of Mini Dental Implants?
Mini dental implants in Mesa provide you with several important benefits:
- Significantly less expensive than traditional dental implants
- Can be a good alternative for patients who lack the necessary jaw bone thickness to accommodate a traditional implant
- A minimally invasive procedure that heals much quicker than traditional implants
- Mini Implants serve as a replacement root which preserves your remaining bone structure
Candidates For Mini Implants
Ideal candidates for a mini dental implant have healthy gum tissue. If you currently suffer from periodontal disease, you must have this condition treated before you can move forward with your mini implants. Other conditions that may rule you out as a candidate include uncontrolled diabetes and prior radiation treatments in your jaw.
When Can Mini Dental Implants Be Used?
Some of our patients at Drs of Smiles assume mini-implants can only mean they are placed as temporary anchors. This is not the case. Once they are fully integrated into the jawbone, they can function as long-term supporting structures.
They are particularly useful for stabilizing lower dentures or partial dentures. They are also an excellent option when you need a smaller than average implant to fit into an extra narrow space. This can be the case when replacing a missing incisor or for patients with smaller teeth.
Mini Dental Implants Procedure
Mini implants are placed quickly and easily during a visit to our Mesa dental office. The procedure to place your mini implants will only take one visit. Patients will only require an additional visit if they need an appliance, such as a denture, connected to the new implants. During the procedure, patients will receive a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort.
First, Dr. Glenn LeSueur or Dr. Charles Dodaro will make a small hole in your gum. Then, they will insert the mini dental implant into your jawbone. Once inserted, the heads of the implants will rest securely above the gum tissue. This allows your denture to snap firmly onto the implant. Within just a few short hours, you will have a fully functional replacement for your missing teeth or a denture with much greater stability. In the rare case, under a 3% chance, that your implants should fail we are easily able to replace them.
What Can I Expect Immediately After My Mini Implant Procedure?
There isn’t any downtime. You’ll leave our Mesa offices and you can actually eat a light meal in just an hour or so. You’ll want to avoid excessively hard or sticky foods at first, to allow the mini implants to start integrating into the jawbone as easily as possible. But you don’t have to be on a soft diet long-term by any means.
You will have some swelling and discomfort, but over-the-counter pain medication and the use of an ice bag should be all you need. You’ll leave the denture in place until bedtime, then you’ll remove it and rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash. You’ll also clean around each implant with a cotton swab and some toothpaste. You’ll use a cotton swab in this way for the first three days. Then you will switch to a special toothbrush that is designed to clean your implants and gently stimulate the surrounding gum tissue.
What Is Recovery Like?
There is no downtime for mini implants. Once you leave our office you may eat immediately and return to your regular activities. Moving forward, patients should treat their new implants the same as their natural teeth. This includes regular oral care by brushing, flossing and visiting for regular cleanings.
Your swelling and pain should be mostly gone in 2 days. In 5 to 7 days your gums should be mostly healed. It can take longer, but this depends on your healing rate.
How Long Do Mini Implants Last?
Mini implants are more affordable and easier to place than traditional dental implants. There is no set lifespan for these. There are many variables that can directly impact their longevity. Things like smoking can affect the duration, as it impacts blood circulation, which is important to keep the jawbone healthy around the implant.
Age generally is not a factor, unless the patient is suffering from osteoporosis. That disease weakens the bone and can cause any implant, mini or traditional, to fail.
All in all, if you take care of your oral health mini-implants can last for decades.
Mini Dental Implants And Dentures
Mini implants work well under dentures. Your new mini implants will allow dentures to be made smaller, and the roof of the mouth to be removed from the upper dentures. Additionally, no further adhesive is necessary to provide chewing strength equal to your natural teeth.
It’s estimated that 40 million Americans are missing all of their teeth. They are likely wearing dentures and struggling with the fit, need for adhesives, inability to eat many foods, and the continuing loss of jawbone mass. This bone loss continues because dentures don’t deliver any bite force energy down into the jawbone, as natural teeth and implants do. Dentures can also lead to chronic bad breath due to food being trapped and decaying under the dentures, or the dentures not being adequately cleaned.
When looking to anchor a denture, at Drs of Smiles, Dr. LeSueur and our team place four mini dental implants into the front of a patient’s lower jaw. Remember, these are only roughly the size of a wooden toothpick, so they are very easy to insert with only local anesthesia. The four implants are placed about five millimeters apart in the patient’s jaw. We then create the lower denture to simply snap onto the four implants. This gives the wearer a tight-fitting, solid prosthesis that cannot slip or move. They can eat with confidence, talk without fear of slipping, and show off their new stable smile. This can all happen in either one or two appointments at most!
Alternatives To Mini Dental Implants
Schedule A Mesa Mini Dental Implants Consultation
To see if you are a candidate for mini dental implants please Drs of Smiles at 480.834.6991 or fill out our contact us forms here. Our dentists proudly serve Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale AZ, and surrounding areas.
Visit our before and after gallery to see the results we are able to achieve for our patients.