Dentures provide an affordable way to replace multiple missing teeth. One of the drawbacks of using them, though, is they can become loose over time due to bone loss that changes the size and shape of the jaw. This can result in discomfort and slippage that make it difficult to fully enjoy eating, talking or smiling. One way to fix this problem is to anchor the dentures using mini dental implants. Here's more information about this option to help you decide if it's right for you.
Just Like Regular Implants Except Smaller
Mini dental implants are just like regular implants except smaller, coming in sizes ranging between a tiny 1.8mm to a healthy 2.9mm. Traditional implants are typically 4mm to 5mm in size. Mini implants are also made out of titanium, but they feature a ball and rubber o-ring at the top designed to fit into specially retrofitted dentures to hold them securely in place.
Because of their smaller size, mini dental implants are ideal for inserting into tight spaces where regular implants would not fit. They are also good for patients who may not have enough bone density to support traditional implants. This allows people who otherwise would be deemed poor candidates for implants to experience the benefits this dental technology has to offer.
How Mini Dental Implants are Used to Stabilize Dentures
To anchor a set of dentures in place, the dentist will typically insert up to six mini dental implants into strategic places on the jaw. First, the patient is put under anesthesia to help manage the pain during the procedure. Then the dentist drills pilot holes into the jaw. Afterwards, the implants are screwed into the opening until all but the ball top and o-ring has been inserted into the bone. Once all the implants have been inserted, the dentist places the patient's modified dentures on top.
This is a single-day procedure that is usually completed within a couple of hours. Healing time is also shortened and stitches are generally not required. Patients can usually begin utilizing their dentures the same day, albeit to eat soft foods.
Even though the dentures are secured by the posts, people can still remove them for cleaning. The dentist will typically show you how to do this.
Disadvantages of Mini Dental Implants
One disadvantage of mini dental implants is that some models are too small to use in the rear of the mouth where chewing forces tend to be strongest. The dentist may need to use mini implants that are towards the larger end of the scale or put more implants in that area to mitigate this issue by distributing chewing forces between multiple posts.
While they may be easier for many patients to use, mini implants can still fall prey to the same factors that cause traditional implants to fail. If you have periodontal disease or a health condition that has a negative effect on your teeth and gums, it's essential that you get it under control before undergoing the procedure. Otherwise, the implant may not bond to the jawbone, requiring you to have the implant redone and costing you more time and money.
Average Cost of Denture Stabilization
Denture stabilization using mini dental implants costs an average of $2,500 to $3,000 if you're using dentures you already own. The cost may be higher if the dentist has to fashion a new set of dentures for the procedure. Implant procedures are typically considered a cosmetic procedure by insurance companies, so it may not be covered by your dental plan. However, the dentist may offer a payment plan or medical credit that can help you pay for the surgery.
To learn more about mini dental implants, connect with a dentist in your area at a clinic like Walden Dentistry.