Missing teeth can impact more than just your aesthetics. When the damaged or missing teeth are not replaced, the affected area becomes subjected to an increased risk of losing up to 25% of its bone density within 12 months. Bone loss, also known as bone atrophy, can also affect your jaw and facial muscles.
Dental implants are a popular option to closely mimic your natural teeth and prevent a host of dental issues. However, not all people have enough bone mass in their jaws to support the full-sized traditional implants. In such a case, the dentist might recommend mini dental implants (MDIs).
What Are Mini Dental Implants?
Simply put, mini dental implants are a smaller type of regular implants that provide a permanent base for the replacement teeth. The MDIs have a diameter ranging from 1.8 to 3.3 mm, and they can be 10 to 15 mm long. With the traditional implants, they are 3.4 to 5.8 mm wide.
Mini dental implants are usually placed in the lower jaw to provide a sturdy based for supporting dentures, crowns, and bridges. Just like the full-size implants, MDIs also bond with your natural bone. The titanium post surgically mounted into your jaw has a ball at the end. A custom-designed replacement tooth is securely attached to the post with an O-shaped rubber ring.
How Much Do Mini Dental Implants Cost?
There are several factors likely to affect the price of mini dental implants, such as your location, choice of dentist, and type of restoration attached. The average cost of mini dental implants is about $1,000 per implant. Generally, patients can expect to pay from $500 to $2,000. Many dentists charge between $2,500 and $6,000 for 4-6 MDIs used to stabilize lower dentures.
Patients who receive multiple mini dental implants at the same time are likely to pay less than those who undergo the procedure at different times. Diagnostics tests like x-rays and CT scans carried out before surgery might also affect the cost of mini dental implants.
Differences Between Regular Implants and Mini Dental Implants
Besides size, here are the other aspects that differentiate these two types of dental implants:
The design of regular implants features two pieces. It has a titanium post and a separate abutment that connects the implant to the restoration. A mini dental implant is a one-piece design, featuring a titanium post with a ball-shaped protrusion.
Both options will last for many years, but full-sized implants tend to withstand substantial chewing forces longer.
· Insertion procedure
With MDIs, the dentist only drills a small hole through the gums into the bone to place the implant. This procedure does not require making any cuts or stitches. Also, it can be completed in a single appointment.
The insertion procedure for full-size implants, on the other hand, involves making an incision into the gums to expose the jawbone before drilling a small hole for the implant. In some cases, the dental surgeon might recommend a preliminary bone graft. If this happens, a patient will have to wait for about 6 to 9 months before they can receive regular dental implants.
· Recovery times
While the recovery period after receiving implants varies depending on several individual factors, patients who get mini dental implants usually experience shorter healing time. Recovery time is greatly reduced from months to days or a few weeks. It is because the procedure is less invasive. This also means less discomfort.
When you opt for the traditional implant surgery, you will need to wait for several months before the doctor can fit the replacement teeth. Typically, the implants integrate with the surrounding tissues in 3 to 6 months.
Mini dental implants cost less than the full-size implants. The affordability factor is attributed to the small size and less extensive insertion process. As we mentioned above, the cost of MDIs ranges from $500 to 2,000. The traditional implants cost more than double the price of the MDIs. For a single regular dental implant, patients usually pay between $3,500 and $6,700. The cost of adding 4-6 regular implants to support the lower dentures ranges from $11,000 to $30,000. MDIs, on the other hand, can cost between $2,500 and $6.000.
Please note that even though the mini dental implants compare very favorably with regular implants, both options have their own set of benefits. One implant option can be favored over the other in certain dental situations.