istock 629077968 1 Most people know about dental implants. They are the best solution for a missing tooth or teeth, as, once in place, an implant behaves just like a natural tooth.

Most people don’t know that there are also mini dental implants. At Dr. Fong’s Orange County practice, we are asked about the difference between the two and when use of mini implants makes sense. Here’s the lowdown.

Implant size

Both full and mini implants are made from titanium. Titanium is unique because it is a metal that is completely compatible with the human body. The implant is actually the screw that is inserted down into the hole formerly occupied by the tooth root. Once inserted, the jawbone then grows around the implant, fully integrating it into the jaw. Next a post is attached to the implant, and a crown onto that.

The difference between full and mini implants is the size and the top.

Full dental implants are 4-5mm in diameter. They are generally made of two pieces. There is the external screw, the implant, that is inserted into the bone. Then there is the internal thread where the post is attached to the implant. The artificial tooth will then be attached to the post.

Mini dental implants are a solid one-piece screw, measuring less than 3mm in diameter. They feature a ball-shaped end that sticks out of the jawbone. Mini implants are often used as the support for dentures, which have a rubber O ring that is intended to fit around the protruding ball from the implant.

Comparing the two

Because mini implants are only about half as big as standard implants, they only provide half the support. Two implants would be necessary to create the same support of a single standard implant. Because they are smaller, mini implants also allow for less chewing force, and they don’t last as long due to stress on the jawbone.

Still, mini implants are great for securing dentures because of their small size and versatility with placement. The healing/integration time is shorter than full implants. And they cost about half as much.

If you’re considering replacing a tooth with an implant, let’s talk. Call Dr. Fong at (714) 549-1903 to schedule an appointment.

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