For years, denture patients have struggled with the ability to talk, smile and eat the same as individuals with permanent teeth. Because dentures have no tooth or anchor to attach to, they often slide across the gums, causing the wearer to constantly have to be aware of the positioning of the denture. This is worsened over time, because a lack of teeth causes the bone beneath the gums to deteriorate, causing the denture to lose optimal fit.
Fortunately, there is hope for denture-wearing dental patients. The mini implant – a small post anchored deep into the jaw bone – is offering denture patients a solution to the constant repositioning they must endure by providing a secure foundation to firmly hold the denture in place every time it is placed in the mouth.
Following the one-day operation, patients can laugh, smile, speak, eat and drink without difficulty or hesitation, because the dentures will remain comfortably in the same position all day, every day. The ease of the procedure and the resulting benefits are causing mini implants to become one of the most demanded services in the dental industry.
A mini implant is very small – approximately the width of a toothpick. In fact, because mini implants are so small, a patient who may have been previously ineligible for larger dental implants may now be able to support the smaller mini implants. In the same way that traditional dental implants provide a base for crowns and other types of tooth prosthesis, the mini implant provides a base for the dentures. Although the dentures are still easily removed, they do not slide around the mouth or come out the way non-anchored dentures do.
How Mini Implants Work
In most cases, while the patient is under anesthesia, six of the implants are place into the jaw bone beneath the gums with a very small portion left visible above the gum line. A trained dentist will only select the healthiest bone to secure the implant into, and the entire procedure typically only takes a couple of hours. Once secured in place by a ratchet, the implant is then capped by a metal housing specially designed to stabilize an overlying denture. Because the post is firmly screwed into the bone, it should provide a long-lasting anchor for the dentures.
Mini implants require minimal time, as they are fitted and inserted into the mouth in a single day and offer a very short recovery process. Following the procedure, the denture lab will modify the original dentures to fit the new prosthesis. However, depending on the patient’s oral health and changes in the mouth since being fitted for the denture, it may be necessary in some cases to re-fit the patient for a new denture. Typically, however, patients leave the office with the original dentures in place and able to eat the same day.
It is important to keep in mind that while most patients qualify for mini implants, not everyone is a candidate. Only a consultation from a qualified dentist can determine whether mini implants are right for you.