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Can Mini Dental Implants Eliminate My Bone Grafting Need?

Can Mini Dental Implants Eliminate My Bone Grafting Need?

Each year, about five million dental implants are placed in the United States, and this number is expected to grow as more Americans find that these replacement teeth excel in both form and function.

For standard dental implants to be successful, there needs to be enough jaw bone to anchor the post, which isn’t the case with some people. While bone grafting is one way to avoid this hurdle, we’ve had great success avoiding this extra step with mini dental implants.

Here at A Caring Dental Group, Dr. Benedict Kim and the team pride ourselves on ensuring that your clients have access to all available tooth replacement options, including mini dental implants.

In this month’s blog post, we’ll examine how mini dental implants can address one of the most common challenges with dental implants — lack of bone.

Why the bone loss?

The key to the success of dental implants is their ability to mimic your teeth, right down to the roots, with a metal post that fuses into place in your existing jawbone. We screw this post down into the bone in your jaw, and new bone should grow up and around it, firmly securing the implant.

Unfortunately, many people experience a great deal of bone loss after losing a tooth. One study reports that people lose 30% of their alveolar ridge width (the part of their jawbone that houses their teeth) in 12 weeks and about 50% after a year.

So, if you don’t act quickly to get a dental implant after losing your tooth, bone can disappear very quickly, and by the time you're ready, you may not have enough bone for a standard dental implant.

Outside of bone loss after losing a tooth, some people do not have enough bone naturally, or they may lack bone density due to osteoporosis. Another issue that we run into is when your sinus cavities are too low, which can make placing implants in the upper rows of your teeth a little trickier. Luckily, there are solutions for each of these issues.

Adding bone versus a mini dental implant

If you don’t have as much bone as we’d like for a dental implant, there are two courses of action. 

1. Bone grafting

With bone grafting, we add bone in the area where we want to place the implant. This process is time-consuming as we must wait for the bone to integrate into your existing bone before placing the implant. There’s also a procedure called a sinus lift where we place bone grafts at the bottom of your sinuses. In both cases, it can take up a year before the graft is ready.

2. Mini dental implants

To install your replacement tooth more quickly and avoid the extra step of bone grafting, we can outfit you with a mini dental implant.

As the name implies, this implant is smaller than the standard one — the diameter is less than 3 millimeters and the screw is shorter. Another difference is that the mini dental implant is one single piece  — the post — while the standard implant involves two pieces — the post and the abutment.

This smaller implant is a great solution for replacing a missing tooth immediately after extraction or loss. We can often place a mini implant post during the tooth extraction procedure, which can help prevent bone loss.

It’s important to note that mini dental implants have some drawbacks. These smaller implants are mostly good for single tooth replacement, not as anchors for larger tooth restorations, such as implant-supported dentures or bridges. Also, the failure rate of mini dental implants is higher than that of standard implants.

The best way to determine which solution is best for your tooth-replacement needs is to sit down with one of the team members at A Caring Dental Group. To get started, we invite you to call our office in Cleveland, Ohio, at 216-446-6977 or book an appointment here on our website.


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