Globally, the Baby Boomer generation has been the fastest-growing demographic over the last decade. In the US, for example, the number of people over the age of 65 has more than tripled and will continue to grow exponentially in the coming years. Once these Boomers reach the age of 75, more than 26% of them are expected to lose their teeth completely—and the most common treatment for teeth loss by far are dentures. “Mini dental implants are an emerging type of dental treatment used to stabilize dentures in your lower jaw,” says Dr. Shin from Smile Well Dental. “But make sure you schedule a consultation with a reputable dentist to determine if you’re the right candidate for this type of procedure.”
What Are Mini Dental Implants?
A mini dental implant (MDI) is a type of implant commonly used in your lower jaw to stabilize new or existing dentures. They have all the advantages of regular implants, but, as their name implies, are smaller and can be placed without complex flap surgery. Mini implants also differ by design. While regular implants have replacement teeth screwed onto them, mini implants have tiny metal balls on the exposed ends. These balls serve as a clip to hold the dentures into place. This design allows for the ease-of-cleaning that dentures provide, while having the stability of dental implants. Also, because mini implants are smaller, the procedure is much less invasive, costs less, and takes less time to complete.
How Much Do Mini Dental Implants Cost?
The price for mini dental implants can range in price depending on various factors including the number of implants required, the type of material used, the cost for diagnostics tests, and so on. However, on average, they are much more affordable than traditional dental implants as they require less material to produce. Depending on which dentist in Vancouver you visit, the price of mini implants can cost between 20-30% cheaper than full-sized traditional implants.
How Long Do Mini Dental Implants Last For?
Mini implants can last at best up to 5 years—and that is assuming proper care and maintenance. So even though the initial cost of dental implants may be lower, the long-term cost to replace one can be significantly greater. This is because once a mini implant fails, the patient will have to redo the implant itself as well as replace the implant crown, bridge, or denture that is supported by the mini implant. This can cost you thousands of dollars. Due to the durability issue of mini dental implants, many customers opt for traditional dental implants.
Pros and Cons of Mini Dental Implants
Dentists have used and extensively studied traditional dental implants for many years now. In fact, you probably know someone or have family members who have installed dental implants before. This is because well placed and well maintained traditional dental implants have very high rates of success and can last for decades or even for life. Mini implants, on the other hand, are much newer products and have fewer studies conducted.
Still, their benefits and high success rates are growing in popularity. Here are the main benefits of mini dental implants:
Main Benefits of Mini Dental Implants
- Short Procedure
- Less Invasive
- Easier to Place
- Shorter Recovery Time
- Can Avoid Bone Graft Procedures
- Much Lower Cost
- Approved By the FDA
Of course, there are drawbacks to mini dental implants as well that must be considered before making the final decision. Here are the main drawbacks:
Main Disadvantages of Mini Implants
1. Require Significant Vertical Bone
Since the screws for mini dental implants are quite long, they are not suitable for patients with insufficient vertical bone structures or considerable bone loss.
2. Generally Require More Implants
Most mini dental implants require a minimum of 4 implants for denture stabilization in the lower jaw. Traditional dental implants, on the other hand, may only require two. The upper jaw requires even more implants (typically 10-12 mini implants).
3. Must Replace the Whole Unit
Most manufacturers build mini dental implants as a single unit. Meaning if the implant head wears down (usually after 5 years), the entire implant must be replaced. With traditional dental implants the unit comes in two pieces so you can replace either the head or abutment.
4. Less Data on Longevity
The general lifespan of mini implants is 5 years with proper care and placement. However, the exact longevity of mini dental implants is not actually known since its less widely studied compared to traditional dental implants.
Smile Well Dental
Located conveniently in North Vancouver near Capilano Mall. We are staffed with some of the best dentists in Vancouver, specializing in a full range of dental services including teeth whitening, deep cleaning for teeth and gums, dental implants, dentures, bridges, Invisalign, surgical orthodontics, braces, and more. Come visit us today!