What’s the difference between a dental implant and a mini dental implant?

Q. What exactly is a dental implant?  And what’s the difference between a dental implant and a mini dental implant?

A.  Put simply, a dental implant is an artificial tooth root replacement.  Just as an orthopedic surgeon uses a titanium joint to replace a damaged knee, the dental implant is used to replace a missing tooth root.  This artificial tooth root is made of surgical grade titanium and can be used to restore your smile in many ways.

The difference between a conventional implant and a mini implant is the diameter.  Because of this, they are typically used for different purposes.

Conventional implants are able to withstand more force because of their width.  This enables them to be used as stable anchors for many purposes.  Conventional implants usually have different types of attachments that fit the particular purpose for the implant.  One attachment can be used to attach a crown to the implant in order to replace a single tooth.  Another attachment is used  if you are attaching a complete or partial denture.
Mini implants, because they are smaller and cannot bear the force that a conventional implant can, are typically not used to replace individual teeth.  They are often used in multiples to retain dentures or as an anchor point for orthodontic treatment.  Mini implants are also typically one piece – meaning it already has an attachment at one end of the implant.

Dental implants have revolutionized the way dentists put smiles back together.  They enable patients who have lost teeth to replace them with a solution that is nearly identical to the tooth they have lost. Dental implants have also changed the lives of denture wearers for the better.  Patients are able to use dental implants as anchors for their complete or partial dentures, providing much more stability and retention.  This changes the way denture wearers eat, talk, and maintain their oral health.

Preserving the health, and thereby the form and function, of your natural teeth has always been your dentist’s main priority.  With dental implants, dentists now have the ability to restore the nature form and function of natural teeth when the natural teeth are lost.  If you have lost teeth, consult your dentist to see if mini or conventional dental implants would benefit your smile.

Do you have a dental question you’d like answered?  Click here or email us at ask@titusdentistry.com and watch this column for the answer!