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Why Would a Dental Professional Recommend Mini Dental Implants?
Developed in the 1970s and approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in 1997, mini dental implants have become a viable option for patients who have lost teeth due to health issues or trauma. While standard dental implants are still an option for many people, mini dental implants may be recommended by your doctor. For the patient, there are multiple benefits when choosing these implants over the traditional ones.
The benefits of mini dental implants versus standard implants
On a case-by-case basis, the dentist may decide that mini implants will be more beneficial for the patient. Some of the benefits include:
The smaller diameter of the implant
The basis of mini dental implants, just like the standard variety, is a metal post made of titanium. This post is inserted into the empty tooth socket until it enters into the jawbone. The post then fuses to the underlying bone, creating an anchor for the permanent crown. If the bone of the jaw is unhealthy, inserting a standard dental implant into the bone can cause more damage. Since mini implants are about half the diameter of the standard implants, there is less risk of damage to the jawbone.
The ability to place the implant in one visit
Standard dental implants require at least two visits to complete the process. During the first visit, the post is inserted, and a temporary crown is placed over the post until the bone and metal fuse securely. After three to six months, the doctor can remove the temporary crown and replace it with a permanent one. Mini dental implants, on the other hand, may be completed in one appointment. The titanium post has two ends, one to screw into the jawbone and the other with a ball on the end. The ball end allows for secure attachment of a permanent crown without the wait. Patients can often return to their normal eating and drinking habits immediately after the procedure.
The decreased need for anesthesia
Installation of mini dental implants can be less invasive than the standard implants. Regular-size implants may require surgical cutting along the socket and gum line that can necessitate the use of general anesthesia. However, general anesthesia is not always an option for patients with underlying health conditions or sensitivities to anesthetic drugs. Mini implants typically only need an injection of local anesthesia at the site of the implant. A patient can generally remain fully conscious throughout the procedure, and a doctor can decrease the risk of anesthetic complications.
In the end, the smaller diameter, decreased number of office visits and less need for anesthesia can make mini dental implants a more cost-effective option than standard dental implants. Over time, they have evolved from an interim implant into one that can permanently restore a smile with the same level of security and quality as standard implants. As patients desire more cost-effective means of dental care, the use of these implants may become a more standard option in tooth replacement.
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