When you have a missing tooth or teeth, it can be tempting and easier to let the area stay dormant.
After all, how much can having a few gaps in your smile hurt?
Sadly, they can do quite a lot of harm and have been linked to lower bone density in the jaw, higher rates of tooth decay and incidents of recurrent gum disease.
Luckily, there is a way to replace missing teeth without the hassle of dental glues or dentures; oral implants! Affixed to your jaw, implants offer a more stable alternative to dentures or bridges and can provide long-term aesthetic benefits too.
In this article, you will be introduced to one of the lesser-known types of oral implants, the mini or micro implant.
What are mini implants?
An endosteal implant (the most commonly used type of dental implant) has a width of 3.2 to 5.2 millimetres. Mini dental implants Melbourne have a width of 1.8 to 3.3 millimetres, so they are a smaller version of an endosteal implant.
They are suitable for patients who, for whatever reason, have a thinner jawbone and may be suffering from a degenerative bone disorder such as osteoporosis. Due to the size of the implants, they are not often suitable as a base for heavier prosthetics such as larger bridges or dentures, and so many dental teams only use them to secure a single tooth or crown.
The fitting of a mini implant is also much less invasive than that of an endosteal implant.
While your dental team will still have to make some incisions into your gum line (after numbing it of course!), the process of fitting the implant will be much shorter and simpler, with smaller holes being drilled as needed.
Once the implants have been fitted, the gums will be sewn together and you will have to wait for around 2 weeks to have the prosthetic tooth or teeth fitted. Due to the size of the implant and the weight it will be supporting, it requires less time to fuse than a standard implant and so, you may be able to have your new smile within a month of the initial fitting.
Maintaining oral implants is much the same as maintaining other kinds of oral implants.
You will need to brush your teeth (and your implants!) twice a day, floss the area, keep an eye out for signs of tooth decay and aim to see your dentist twice a year for check-ups.
Oral implants can have their lifespan significantly shortened through the consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol and cigarette usage, so if you want to keep your oral implants in your mouth for as long as possible, aim to reduce these activities, with medical supervision if needed.
Oral implants can last up to and over 15 years with correct care and studies have found that mini implants have an average lifespan of 20 years, provided that they are cared for properly.
Should you have concerns that your oral implants are failing prematurely, please seek advice from your dental team.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.