Regular dental implants use thick screws to anchor porcelain crowns in place, or in some case a full bridge or denture if several teeth need to come out at once. These implants are almost always permanent, and you clean dental implants by brushing and flossing normally rather than by taking them out every night and letting them soak the way you would with traditional dentures.
However, there’s another kind of implant called a mini implant, and they use special mini implant dentures that snap onto your jaw rather than stay in your mouth forever. In fact, you can usually retrofit your existing dentures to become mini implant dentures. But if mini implants aren’t as close a replacement for real teeth as full-size implants, why would anyone choose them instead?
- Lower cost. The smaller implants cost less to install on your jaw, plus you only need four implant screws for your entire upper or lower jaw. Regular implants also don’t need one screw per tooth if you replace several at once, but the appliance for mini implants is also cheaper since you can use regular dentures instead of permanent ceramic crowns.
- Faster recovery. The smaller screws don’t put as much stress on your bone as full-size implants, and so you don’t have to wait two to six months for the screws to osseointegrate and the gums to recover from the surgery. In some cases, you start using your mini implants on the same day.
- Less bone required. When your teeth come out, the bone arches that supported them will start to dissolve and eventually become much smaller over the course of several months. This is why people who first get dentures have to resize them every few weeks at first. Since mini implants are smaller, they don’t need as much bone to support them, and so while regular implants need to go in soon after the real teeth come out, people who have worn dentures for years can get mini dental implants and enjoy a smile more secure than any dental adhesive can provide.
Mini implant dentures aren’t as permanent or as realistic as full porcelain dental implants, but there are several reasons why patients might choose the mini implants over the regular kind. Whether they can only handle a lower price tag, they can’t wait through a complete recovery period, or it’s been too long since the teeth were removed and mini implants are the only option, mini implants are different enough to fit the bill for different patients.
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