Last Updated on December 10, 2019
Dental implants have taken over the dental industry by storm. People all over the world are starting to realize the benefits of this procedure. Traditional implants are commonly considered the best options for replacing teeth, but they can be pricey and invasive.
Did you know that there’s a smaller, cheaper, less-invasive alternative to traditional implants? It’s true, and they’re called mini dental implants. This could be the best option for you.
Mini dental implants typically cost anywhere from $500-$1,500 for a single implant. To support a lower denture (4-6 implants), you can expect to spend from $2,000-$5,000. These prices are breaths of fresh air when compared to traditional full-sized implants. Plan on going the traditional route? You could spend from $12,000-$30,000 to stabilize a full denture.
You can save a lot of money if you take the path towards mini dental implants. But it’s important to look at all the facts before making a decision. And I’m here to help with that.
Dental Implants? What Are They?
When a tooth goes missing, a dental implant is there to help. A dental implant is an appliance that is surgically placed into the jawbone. It’s made up of titanium alloy and blends well with the biological composition of your mouth. A post (either a screw or cylinder) fills the place of the missing tooth. This post can hold a bridge, crown, or denture in place.
What are some advantages of dental implants? For starters, implants help prevent bone loss which occurs when teeth are missing. This is because the implant posts act in a similar way to the roots of natural teeth. Also, the firm dental implants give that added stability to your dentures so they won’t slip as much. Dental implants can also help decrease mouth soreness.
It’s no wonder why dental implants are so popular. This cutting-edge technology is becoming the norm for people who need teeth replaced. Traditional implants can be quite pricey, though. And that’s why we want to discuss the mini dental implant option with you.
Mini Dental Implants? What Are They?
These smaller alternatives are made from the same material as traditional implants (titanium alloy). The big difference is in the size. The diameter of mini implants is a bit smaller than that of the traditional ones. MDIs usually have a diameter which is less than 3mm. Traditional implants usually have a diameter between 4mm-5mm. Mini dental implants are also called small-diameter implants and narrow-body implants.
What happens when a natural tooth goes missing? Well… your jawbone will immediately start to lose its mass and density. Let’s say that you don’t have sufficient jawbone to support a traditional implant. You could always get bone grafts, but this will cost even more money. This would be a good time to consider the miniature alternatives.
Due to their smaller sizes, mini dental implants will require less jawbone for placement. Mini dental implants have a screw that can be placed right through the gum tissue and into the jawbone. The dentist won’t have to open up your gums. You also won’t need any sutures. The procedure is less-invasive than traditional implants. And the healing process is quicker.
Pros And Cons Of Mini Dental Implants
There are plenty of good reasons as to why you should consider mini dental implants. For starters, the procedure is a lot shorter than the conventional method. This is because a new prosthesis can be quickly placed into MDIs. You’re looking at 1-2 hours in this procedure.
Also, the surgical procedure is less invasive. For example, you won’t need stitches if you take this route. Since MDIs are much smaller in diameter, this means the hole in your jawbone will be a lot smaller as well. The minimal invasiveness also leads to a quicker recovery time.
If you don’t have sufficient jawbone for a traditional implant, you can still oftentimes get a mini dental implant without needing a bone graft. This is a big deal, as bone grafts require more invasiveness and of course, more money. You will still need sufficient vertical jawbone.
Finally, undergoing an MDI procedure will reduce the risk of surgical errors. There’s less of a chance for placing the implant too close to a nerve or sinus. Even if an error occurs, it will be easier to correct. This is because of the small diameter required in MDIs.
The screws for MDIs are small in diameter, but they are still quite long. You’ll need a sufficient amount of vertical bone to undergo the procedure. So, although you can usually avoid bone grafts, there still may be a chance that there just isn’t enough vertical jawbone for the implant.
Are you looking for denture stabilization? If so, then there’s a good chance that you’ll need more MDIs than if you were to go the traditional route. For example, to stabilize a lower denture, you may need 4 MDIs. But it may only take 2 traditional implants for stabilization.
Some mini dental implants are single units. So, let’s say that the head wears down on the implant. In this case, you’ll need to have the entire implant replaced. Traditional implants come as multi-units, which can be replaced without completely removing the implant.
Finally, one big con of the MDI is the fact that there isn’t much data on the longevity of them. Traditional implants have been rigorously studied, and lots of data exists to back it up. If you’re an information junky, you may not be pleased with questions surrounding MDIs.
Back To MDI Costs: What Other Factors Play A Role?
If you need to replace missing teeth, and you’re trying to be easy on your wallet, then it’s definitely a good idea to consider mini dental implants. You’re going to spend a lot less than you would for the traditional procedure. But what exactly affects the cost of MDIs?
You’ll first need to think about the diagnostic tests involved. Your dentist will need to make a solid plan for the placement of your MDI. And this is going to require X-rays and CT scans. Be sure to look into your dentist’s costs for these diagnostic tests. An X-ray is always required.
Here’s something else to keep in mind: you can get a lower price for your MDIs if you have them all placed at the same time. This is in comparison to having them placed at different times. Also, the location is going to play a huge role in your prices. Procedures are usually more expensive in bigger cities. Also, be sure to look into “dental tourism” for cheaper prices around the globe.
How experienced is the dentist who will be performing the surgery? This is going to matter in the overall costs of your implants. More-experienced professionals will usually charge more. But don’t let this discourage you, because an experienced dentist will probably give you the highest quality possible. On top of that, you’ll have a decreased chance of procedural complications.
Before the procedure begins, your dentist will take X-rays of your teeth. This will be the dentist’s blueprint of your mouth. These X-rays are used to determine where to place your implants.
After the dentist has determined where the implants need to be, he/she will then use a pilot drill to make a small hole in your gums. And don’t worry, because you’ll have an anesthetic to make sure that you won’t be feeling any pain. Traditional implants involve cutting a flap into your gums, instead of just a tiny hole. MDIs are much less invasive all-around.
Once the hole is made, the MDI is placed into the hole and tightened with special tools. The upper portion of the implant will be sitting above your gums. Next, your dentist will make some measurements for your denture. Once your denture is modified to fit your implants, the denture will be fitted to your MDI using O-rings. They should snap right into place.
Nothing too invasive about that, right? And the entire procedure is done within 2 hours.
Life After The Procedure
Now that the procedure is over, it’s time to start the healing process. Your dentist will probably give you some antibiotics. These will help prevent infections in your mouth. It’s typically recommended that you use antibacterial mouthwash for a while as well.
MDIs heal a lot faster than traditional implants. While you’re in the healing process, you’ll probably be given a temporary prosthesis to use. This is used to give your implants time to integrate with your jawbone. Once your implants have merged with the bone, you’ll be given your permanent prosthesis.
Curious about what kind of diet you will need? You won’t necessarily have to change anything about your diet. But it’s recommended that you stick to softer foods while you’re in the recovery process. Your dentist should be able to answer any questions you have about diet.
You shouldn’t have anything more than some mild discomfort within 48 hours of the procedure. Over-the-counter painkillers should ease your pain within this period. But if that’s not enough, your dentist may be able to prescribe special painkillers to you.
But how long will these bad boys last? Well… there haven’t been many studies performed for the longevity of MDIs. However, your mini dental implants could potentially last just as long as the traditional ones. Of course, this will require excellent placement from your dentist. It will also require constant dental care.
Dental implants really are at the front-end of innovation in the world of dentistry. More and more people are starting to realize the benefits of having a dental implant procedure performed. However, traditional implants can really do a number on your bank account.
Mini dental implants are great alternatives to the traditional procedure. And they’re approved by the FDA as well. Not only are MDIs easier on your wallet, but they are also less invasive. The healing process for an MDI procedure is a lot shorter than that of the traditional procedure. Another positive thing about MDIs? They require less jawbone than conventional implants.
But, it’s not all sunshine here. There are some downsides to mini dental implants. For example, if you need to stabilize a denture, you’ll need more MDIs than you would need for the traditional implants. Also, whenever an MDI is worn or broken, the entire part will need to be replaced. This is because MDIs are single units, as opposed to the multi-unit traditional.
So, what did you think? Are mini dental implants the best option for you? We hope you were able to gain a bit of insight into all of this. And hopefully you’ll be able to smile, knowing that you made the right decision for your mouth in the future.