Ever heard of mini dental implants? Maybe not, since they’re a fairly new technology that replaces missing teeth. Dental implants, and their mini counterparts, are a good alternative to dentures for people who are only missing a few teeth, or for those who want a more realistic-looking option that’s also easier to take care of it. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each dental technique:
Dentures have been around for a long time, as we all know from learning about George Washington’s false teeth in elementary school (although contrary to what you might have learned, his dentures were not made of wood, but from ivory and animal teeth). Unfortunately, dentures can be cumbersome and difficult to clean. They can make it difficult to eat certain foods or even to speak clearly. Dentures are often glaringly fake in appearance, and must be replaced every few years as the patient’s jawbone structure changes.
Dental implants, as the name implies, are inserted directly into the jawbone. Usually they are made of three components: the titanium alloy root, around which the patient’s bone will fuse and bond; an abutment, which stick up above the gumline; and a crown, or fake tooth, which replaces the one lost. Dental implants are a good choice for folks who are only missing a few teeth, and they can last a lifetime if they are cared for properly. That’s fairly easy to do, since you just brush and floss them along with your regular teeth, rather than having to take them out, soak them, and use adhesive to position them in your mouth, as with dentures.
The drawback to dental implants? Most patients would say that it’s the cost. Averaging several thousand dollars per tooth, this isn’t a procedure that is taken lightly unless you have lots of disposable income. Nevertheless, their realism makes them more of an investment than a simple cosmetic procedure, like tooth whitening.
Mini Dental Implants
These are simply smaller versions of traditional implants, and require less invasive surgery. Using computer guided technology, some cosmetic dentists can even provide a patient with mini dental implants in just one day. Sometimes, this type of implant can be used to support more than one tooth, or even a partial set of dentures. Again, there are some drawbacks; if the patient has unhealthy gums or bones, they might not be good candidates for implants of any type. And mini dental implants cost as much, if not more, than regular implants, making the price prohibitive for some people. Certain cosmetic dentists may offer financing, however, meaning that a good-looking, long-lasting set of replacement teeth isn’t necessarily out of the picture.
Consult your dentist for recommendations on which type of tooth replacement process might be best for you.