What Are Mini Dental Implants?

Top-Rated Prosthodontist Serving Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Arlington & the greater Washington DC area

Posted: October 22, 2019

Like conventional dental implants, mini implants are inserted in the jawbone to create a permanent base for replacement teeth. However, mini dental implants have a smaller diameter than traditional implants, a different design, and a totally different function. They are never to be restored with a crown or fixed hybrid prosthesis.

A traditional implant relies on a connecting element — known as an abutment — to affix a dental prosthesis to the implant. Meanwhile, a mini implant has a round head that attaches to a removable prosthesis via a socket and rubber O-ring. Due to this unique design, mini implants can be a good option for stabilizing otherwise loose dentures over dental implants. They are a less expensive alternative to dentures that are affixed to stable implants, and provide a stabilizing option when the bone is too thin for traditional implants.

When Are Mini Dental Implants Used?

Mini implant supported overdenture The most common application for mini implants is to stabilize an overdenture. An implant supported overdenture is a dental prosthesis that can be removed easily for daily cleaning and maintenance. When snapped into place, an implant overdenture is a secure and aesthetically pleasing tooth replacement option. It can be an excellent solution if you are missing an entire arch of teeth, and are seeking a less expensive option.

We have an in-house dental laboratory where our technicians work to create implant supported dentures that capture the proper aesthetics and fit. We create your denture to match your facial anatomy, smile line, coloring, bite, and other individual aspects.

Mini dental implants may be appropriate if you are not a candidate for traditional implants due to jawbone insufficiency. That is because mini implants are narrow and require less bone for placement than conventional implants. If you are interested in undergoing bone grafting to become eligible for traditional implants, we can use mini implants in the meantime to give you a stable removable appliance before replacing them with traditional implants and a fixed prosthesis.

Once again, unlike traditional implants, mini implants are not designed to support individual crowns. Many patients have come to our practice with failing mini implants that were restored with crowns. If you are looking to replace a single missing tooth, a mini implant is not the appropriate solution — another method would be more appropriate.

Benefits of Mini Dental Implants

Mini dental implants offer several benefits to the right candidates. One of the most significant advantages of this type of dental implant is the cost. Mini implants are often more affordable than traditional implants when used to stabilize dentures.

Another benefit of mini dental implants is that they can be immediately loaded. This means that you are able to leave your implant placement appointment with a strong, functional, and aesthetically pleasing dental prosthesis in place.

Mini implants can also help keep your jawbone healthy. Missing teeth often lead to jawbone deterioration, which causes functional issues and changes the appearance of your lower face.  Like traditional implants, mini implants stimulate the bone tissue to support optimal jawbone health and prevent bone loss.

Learn What Type of Implant is Right for You

At Prosthetic Dentistry of Washington D.C., we offer traditional and mini implants to serve a wide range of patients who need to replace missing teeth. Call 202-244-2101 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Gerald Marlin to learn which implant option is best suited for your needs.

Dr. Marlin is an experienced prosthodontist who has inserted and restored over 3,000 dental implants. A trusted and recognized leader in the field, Dr. Marlin is committed to providing comfortable treatment and exceptional, long-lasting results.

We welcome dental implant patients from Washington D.C., Bethesda, Chevy Arlington, and nearby areas of Maryland and Virginia as well as those who travel to our practice from out-of-state or out-of-country. Due to our convenient uptown location near the Friendship Heights Metro Station, we see many downtown-area patients who choose to visit us at the start or end of their workdays.