If you have dental problems, especially concerning tooth loss, chances are that you are familiar with dental implants. These handy replacements for your tooth root are embedded in your gums and can either be used to anchor one or more teeth, or to hold in place removable dentures.
Dental implants are made of titanium, a very durable and tough material which, unlike some other metals does not trigger any immune system reactions. That’s why it’s used for a variety of medical purposes. Dental implants come in two basic types – regular and mini.
We reached out to Temecula Facial Oral Surgery, a reputable Southern California dental practice to tell us more about the differences between these two types of implants.
Mini Dental Implants
Just as the name suggests, mini implants are smaller than regular ones, but the differences between these two don’t stop with size. In fact, these two types of implants differ in their durability and, more importantly, in the intended purpose.
Mini implants consist of a single titanium screw which is screwed into the jaw bone. Generally speaking, these screws are no bigger in diameter than 0.11’’ (3mm). Thanks to the properties of titanium, the bone will grow around the implant and fixate it in place. The implant ends in a small ball which the dentist can work with.
Regular Dental Implants
On the other hand, regular dental implants consist of two parts, with a diameter of more than 0.13’’ (3.25mm). These are inserted into the bone (which also grows around it to fixate it) with an external screw which the dentist can use to work.
Regular dental implants are preferred by dentistry professionals because they are more durable and put less strain on the bone. However, these can be more expensive, which is why some patients opt for mini dental implants to cut immediate cost.
Can Mini Implants Be a Better Solution?
There are some instances when regular implants may not be the best option and when mini implants are preferred. After all, they do exist, which means that they inevitably have a purpose.
People who have lost bone density in their jaw may not be a candidate for regular implants. Bone loss occurs if a tooth had been extracted years ago, and the bone served no purpose for a long time. In those cases, the bone may not be strong enough or big enough to support the size of a full implant.
Mini implants, with their smaller footprint, could be the ideal solution. However, keep in mind that you will need at least two mini implants to cover the work of a single regular implant.
They are also less expensive, both thanks to their smaller size and their limited intended use. They were originally created to support dentures – not to replace missing teeth. However, due to their popularity and lower price, they became a viable option for regular tooth replacement.
Which Implant Do I Need?
Even though most qualified experts recommend regular dental implants to people who can afford them and whose jaw bone can handle it, it is always important to visit your dentist before making a decision.
Each use case is different and the specifics of the case can only properly be assessed by a qualified implant dentist based on visual information – by examining you and your scans.
Whether you end up opting for mini or regular implants, most experts will agree that it is better for your jaw health to have any kind of implant than nothing. Implants can help maintain the strength of your jaw and your ability to chew.