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Are Mini Dental Implants Recommended for Jawbone Loss?
Patients presenting with periodontal or gum disease may question whether mini dental implants are a possible solution to the bone loss they will likely experience. Mini implants can be an excellent solution for patients suffering from bone loss and tooth decay. However, it is necessary to note that all implants do require a stable foundation to be used effectively. Therefore, if bone loss is significant, a patient may be required to undergo other procedures before receiving any type of implant to ensure viability.
Bone loss and dental implants
In most cases, a mini implant does not require any other procedures because the area of bone needed is small. However, in some of the more severe cases, a dentist may suggest one of several procedures to ensure the implant will be secure and useful.
Bone grafting is a way of strengthening and rebuilding bone. A dentist makes a small incision in the patient's gum line and injects a substance made from real or synthetic bone minerals around the area of bone loss, rejuvenating growth.
For patients without enough upper jawbone structure, a dentist may suggest a sinus lift. This procedure lifts the upper jaw by utilizing the maxillary sinus and implanting some of the patient’s bone.
A ridge expansion is used when the jaw bone does not have a wide enough surface for an implant. The expansion uses a graft to increase the surface area of the jawbone. After the graft has been inserted, the dentist may choose to immediately insert the implant or wait a few months, allowing the jaw to heal completely.
Distraction osteogenesis is a fancy way of saying separating and forming new bone. Essentially, this procedure is another form of grafting and is typically used to increase the height of the jawbone for an implant post. A dentist cuts and separates a section of bone, inserting a titanium device and securing it with pins and screws. Then, every day, the dentist unscrews the device a little, making the jawbone taller in the process.
Pros and cons
While the recommendation of mini implants for jawbone loss varies depending on the patient, these devices do offer a viable option. Even for those with significant bone loss, mini devices may be a good option because they require less bone surface area. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are pros and cons.
Benefits of mini dental implants
The key to mini implants is that they can be used even in extreme cases. However, there are many benefits beyond feasibility:
- No flap surgery
- No bone grafts
- Less invasive procedure
- Faster recovery
- Preventing facial collapse
- Less discomfort
While mini implants do require less bone surface, there is still a bone requirement. If a patient has very little or brittle bone definition, then a graft may be needed before implants can be used. Also, if a graft is not possible, patients may require more invasive surgery.
Mini dental implants are a good option for many people with bone loss. However, as bone surface area is still a requirement, patients must check with their dentist to see if implants are recommended.
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