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Dental Implants vs Mini-Implants: Differences & Benefits

Example of dental implants at Excellent Dental Specialists.Dental implants come in several different types, sizes, and heights to replace missing teeth. Because everyone’s mouth is unique in some way, minor or major, narrowing down exactly the right implant for them takes time and careful consideration. You can count on our help at Excellent Dental Specialists to determine what option works best for you and help restore your beautiful smile. Let’s go over the pros & cons of each form of an implant.

Types of Implants

Implants fall into two main classes:

•  Endosteal- Placed in the jawbone, usually made of titanium and shaped like a small screw. This is the most commonly used form of an implant.
•  Subperiosteal- Placed under the gum, either on or above the jawbone. This type of implant may be used for patients lacking enough healthy natural jawbone and cannot or are not comfortable with having a bone augmentation procedure to reconstruct it.

The easiest way to remember the key difference is that endosteal means the implant is “in the bone” while subperiosteal in “on top” of the jawbone, under your gum tissue.

How Does a Dental Implant Work?

In both traditional and mini-implants, the post acts as a synthetic tooth root to anchor the implant in position while keeping your jawbone durable and healthy.

Traditional Implants

An important distinction is that traditional implants are generally larger and provide a more stable, permanent solution. They are designed to last you for years, often for the remainder of your life. However, they also require adequate jaw tissue for support. Patients with jawbone atrophy, for instance, may not be suitable for a traditional implant without first getting a preliminary bone graft. Unlike the mini-implant, which is essentially a one-piece screw, the traditional one comes in two parts: The post and the abutment (a ball-shaped end that rises above your gum-line).

Miniature Dental Implants

With advances in modern technology, implants were able to be made smaller over the years with less invasive surgeries required to have them placed. Providing a more convenient alternative to traditional implants, mini-implants are smaller in diameter but are easier to install. Their smaller size also means they have less impact on the jawbone. Therefore, they do not require as much healthy tissue or preliminary costly bone grafts to restore one or multiple teeth.

The shorter, more convenient procedure also means it takes less time to heal and generally involves less discomfort with little-no pain medication required. (Ex- Unlike dentures, they don’t slip or fell awkward). Overall, mini-implants are the preferred choice to fill a gap between your teeth such as when the front tooth (incisor) is missing. The catch is, because they need less bone for support, their smaller posts may not be as stable as larger traditional posts. As a result, mini-implants are overall more fragile by comparison and have a wider margin for implant failure.

If you are considering getting a dental implant and have questions or wish to discuss which type may be right for you, call Excellent Dental Specialists today at one of our four locations in San Antonio and New Braunfels!

Excellent Dental Specialists
14500 San Pedro Ave, Suite 200
San Antonio, TX 78232
(210) 598-8933
Excellent Dental Specialists
2020 Babcock Rd, Suite 10
San Antonio, TX 78229
(210) 598-8933
Excellent Dental Specialists
6961 Hwy 87 East
San Antonio, TX 78263
(210) 598-8933
Excellent Dental Specialists
1583 East Common Street, Suite 200
New Braunfels, TX 78130
(210) 598-8933
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