Miami – Mini Dental Implants
Since their introduction nearly 50 years ago, dental implants have continued to advance and are now considered the preferred method for replacing missing teeth. Implants are preferred to removable dental appliances because they provide patients with a functional, natural-looking and permanent solution for missing teeth.
Although dental implants may not be a feasible option for all patients with missing teeth, adjustments are being made to increase the number of patients who can benefit from this revolutionary solution for lost teeth. At Lamas Dental Specialists in Miami, Dr. William P. Lamas performs a variety of dental implant procedures to restore missing teeth: These revolutionary procedures include the TeethXPress® Full-Arch and the All-on-4® Method. In addition, he performs Mini-Dental Implant Procedures.
Dental Implants Before & After Photos
Replacing Missing Teeth: The Options
Missing teeth can be replaced with dentures, flippers, partials, bridges or dental implants. Dentures, flippers, partials and bridges are acrylic dental prostheses that sit on top of the gum’s surface. Dentures, flippers and partials are removable; whereas, bridges are not. Bridges do rest on the gum; however, they are securely attached to the patient’s natural teeth. Unfortunately, since all these prostheses just rest on the surface of the gum, they are unable to stimulate the jawbone and without stimulation, the jawbone begins to deteriorate.
Jawbone Deterioration Affects an Individual’s Facial Characteristics
It is the deterioration of the jawbone that leads to the sunken-in appearance of an individual’s cheeks, which is a facial characteristic commonly seen in those who wear acrylic prostheses or who are missing teeth. Sadly, these hollow-looking cheeks can cause an individual to appear much older than he or she truly is, sometimes as much as 10 years. However, the facial characteristics caused by jawbone deterioration can be avoided with dental implants.
Implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth. Since the implants are surgically inserted into the jawbone, stimulation of the bone continues; thus, eliminating concerns related to deterioration and accelerated aging of the face.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are posts that consist of either titanium or ceramic (Zirconium). These posts are surgically placed within the jawbone to replace the missing root. Titanium and Zirconium are unique to other materials in that they are able to integrate with the jawbone, essentially becoming part of the bone itself: This process is referred to as osseointegration.
The Components of a Traditional Implant
A traditional dental implant consists of a titanium or ceramic ‘root,’ an abutment and a crown. Once the root is surgically inserted into the patient’s gum, an abutment can be placed on top of the root. The abutment can consist of titanium or ceramic and is secured in place at the gumline. The crown (new, prosthetic tooth) is secured to the abutment.
What are Mini Dental Implants?
Mini implants are a convenient, safe and fast alternative to the traditional implants. While there is no doubt that traditional implants will continue to be used, mini dental implants may be a better option for some patients.
This type of implant is a single unit that has a ball, socket and a rubber O-ring on the end of it. The tooth is attached to the post using the rubber O-ring; therefore, an abutment does not have to be attached before the prosthetic tooth is placed, which eliminates the step to attach an abutment.
Mini Dental Implants Vs. Traditional Implants
Mini implants are an exciting option for those who are not good candidates for traditional implants because they offer patients the same natural-looking results, reliability and feel.
Some of the reasons that Dr. Lamas may recommend mini implants, instead of the traditional implant option, include:
They are less expensive
– these implants are less expensive than traditional implants are for several reasons (i.e., fewer steps, no need for bone grafts, etc.); thus, making them a good option for individuals with limited funds for replacing their teeth: Especially since most dental insurance companies will not pay for procedures or devices related to dental implants.
The procedure itself is easier
– since the abutment step is eliminated and bone grafting is not necessary, this implant procedure is faster and easier for Dr. William P. Lamas to perform.
There is never a need to perform a bone graft
– after the extraction of a tooth, if it is not replaced right away, chances are a bone grafting procedure will be necessary before a traditional implant can be placed. Unfortunately, bone grafting is not only tedious, but costly as well. For this reason, many of Dr. Lamas’ patients are choosing mini implants over their traditional counterparts when insufficient bone density is an issue.
They are smaller
– although these implants are structured exactly the same as traditional implants, they are slightly smaller. The mini implant ranges from 2 to 3 mm in diameter; whereas, the traditional implant may be from 3 to 6 mm in diameter.
There are fewer parts
– these smaller implants consist of only two parts, as opposed to the traditional implants, which consist of three.
What Can Mini Dental Implants Replace?
These smaller implants can be used to support most types of prosthetic teeth. The Mini Dental Implant Centers of America (MDICA) states that these implants can support bridges, fixed crowns and dentures: the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) agrees with MDICA, but also states that mini dental implants are ideal for securing loose and lower arch dentures.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Mini Dental Implants?
While these revolutionary implants do provide patients with faster results and they can be beneficial for those with bone loss, these implants do not always offer patients the same results as their traditional counterparts: For example, since mini implants are smaller than traditional implants are, they are more vulnerable to damage from the forces associated with biting, which could lead to failure. That said, these implants remain a cost-effective dental restoration solution for many of Dr. Lamas’ patients who have insufficient bone density and limited funds.
Traditional or Mini Dental Implants – The Patient’s Bone Density Makes a Difference
As previously mentioned, a traditional implant usually has a diameter ranging from 3 to 6 mm and a mini implant generally has a diameter ranging from just 2 or 3 mm: Its smaller size makes the mini implant a better option for those with an inadequate amount of bone density to support a traditional implant. Therefore, these smaller implants offer Dr. William P. Lamas’ patients who have resorption issues a cost-effective solution for permanent tooth restoration, without the need for expensive and time-consuming bone grafts.
During the patient’s initial consultation, Dr. Lamas can determine which type of implant will serve the patient best.
Who Should Consider Mini Dental Implants?
Tooth loss impacts our lives in a variety of ways. It makes enjoying our favorite foods difficult and smiling, and laughing without feeling self-conscious is nearly impossible. Furthermore, conversing with others, due to changes in word pronunciation as well as issues related to feeling uncomfortable, can be challenging. These issues hold true even for those who replace their missing teeth with removable dental prostheses like dentures, partials and flippers as each of these devices has the potential to slip. Since dental implants are the closest thing to the look and feel of one’s natural teeth, replacing missing teeth with implants can help restore an individual’s confidence level.
Individuals who are interested in undergoing a dental implant procedure need to be in good general health with relatively healthy gums and remaining teeth.
Good candidates for a mini dental implant procedure with Dr. Lamas in Miami include individuals who:
- are missing at least one tooth;
- have insufficient bone structure to undergo a traditional implant procedure;
- would like a fast recovery; and/or
- have worn dentures for an extended length of time but would like to enjoy the benefits of implant-support dentures.
Mini Dental Implants – The Procedure
The procedure used to place mini implants is different than that used for traditional implants. Typically, four mini implants are placed in the lower jawbone to secure a loose denture or partial and at least six mini implants are used to secure a loose denture or partial in the upper jawbone. Although Dr. William P. Lamas can perform the mini implant procedure using just local anesthetic, many patients still request dental sedation as well. Dental sedation can be in the form of inhalation sedation (Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen Sedation, aka ‘laughing gas’), Oral Sedation or IV Sedation.
1. Using diagnostic imaging tools, Dr. Lamas will mark the locations for the implants on the ridge of the patient’s gum.
2. He will use a pilot drill to carefully create a tiny hole in the tissue at the targeted locations that he previously marked.
3. Once the tiny holes are created, Dr. William P. Lamas can gently insert the implants into the pilot holes and tighten them using a series of specialized tools.
4. Following placement and tightening of the implants, the denture is fitted with metal housings. These housings allow the denture to securely snap onto the heads of the mini implants.
*Sometimes, a new prosthesis is created for the patient prior to the procedure; however, there are times when Dr. Lamas can use the prosthesis the patient already has.
5. Once the dental prosthesis is placed, the patient receives instructions as to caring for his or her implants upon returning home. In a single day, patients can experience a dramatic change in the satisfaction they feel with their overall appearance, an improvement in their self-esteem and their ability to enjoy the foods they love.
Recovering After a Mini Dental Implant Procedure at Lamas Dental Specialists in Miami
There is literally no recovery period following this procedure. However, patients who choose to receive sedation will need to bring a driver with them to the office to take them home. For the safety of our patients, we do not permit the use of public transportation following sedation.
How Long Will Mini Dental Implants Last?
While the longevity of a dental procedure cannot be guaranteed, when a traditional implant procedure is successful, which occurs up to 98 percent of the time, the implants can last a lifetime. Even the very first set of dental implants that were placed lasted more than 40 years (1965 to 2006, which is the year the recipient passed away). So far, even though they are smaller, these implants seem comparable to the traditional implants and, when properly cared for, may very well last a lifetime.
Although concerns related to longevity may cause some patients to second guess undergoing an implant procedure, unless something is done, continued loss of bone is imminent. The sooner an individual has some kind of dental implant procedure performed, the better.
Caring for Dental Implants
Just like the natural teeth, flossing daily, brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush twice a day, bi-annual cleanings and check-ups are essential to maintaining a healthy mouth. Furthermore, maintaining a healthy mouth that is free of tartar and harmful bacteria reduces the likelihood of problems related to the dental implants.
How Much Do Mini Dental Implants Cost?
The cost of a mini implant is significantly lower than the cost of a traditional implant. While some patients may be concerned that this reduced cost has something to do with the reliability of the procedure, it does not.
Here are a few of the reasons why a mini dental implant procedure is less expensive than a traditional implant procedure:
- the implant screw is narrower, which makes it less expensive;
- there is no need for bone grafting, which reduces cost; and
- the procedure is very simple; therefore, it does not require surgery.
The only way Dr. William P. Lamas can determine how much a mini implant procedure will cost a patient is to perform an evaluation. Therefore, if you are interested in learning more about the various implant procedures available in Miami, contact Dr. Lamas’ office today at 305-440-4114.
Schedule a Complimentary Initial Consultation at Lamas Dental Specialists in Miami Today
At Lamas Dental Specialists, we know that every patient is unique; therefore, the only way we can determine which type of implant will serve you the best is to perform a physical examination of your mouth as well as to take X-rays.
After Dr. Lamas examines your mouth, takes X-rays and then reviews them, he will discuss your restoration options with you. In addition, he will answer any questions you have about the various dental procedures he has available at Lamas Dental Specialists in Miami.
Dr. William P. Lamas wants each of his patients to feel comfortable during their appointments; therefore, please feel free to be candid with him about your aesthetic goals and concerns.
During this consultation, Dr. Lamas will also want to know about your medical history (e.g., current health conditions and previous surgical procedures, etc.). He will also want information about any medications, herbal supplements and vitamins that you take on a regular basis. Allergies to drugs or latex should also be discussed at this time.
Reasons Patients Choose Lamas Dental Specialists
Dr. William P. Lamas has been serving South Florida for more than 25 years. He and his staff are dedicated to providing patients with the most innovative procedures and the highest-quality care, striving to exceed their expectations every step of the way.
As a caring, compassionate periodontist in the state of Florida, one of the best compliments our patients can give us is a smile. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you replace your missing or failing teeth, contact Lamas Dental Specialists today at 305-440-4114. We are located at 2645 Southwest 37th Avenue, Suite 304, in Miami.