Dental implants have been changing the way we look at replacing teeth for the last thirty years. Technology and research have progressed to the point where the use of titanium to support new teeth or anchor tooth replacement appliances has become quite common. Two of the biggest hurdles for patients in receiving implant treatment are the economic cost and the amount of healthy bone that may be available to place the implants into.
Small diameter implants (SDIs) help to solve both of these problems.
What is a small diameter implant (SDI)? Modern implants are basically short, fat titanium wood screws. The top of the screw has a receptacle so that some type of platform may be attached to stick out of the gums. The attachment is called an abutment and it may be used to support a single tooth, multiple teeth, or to snap in a denture or partial denture. Conventional implants come in diameters from three to six millimeters in diameter and vary in length. Small diameter implants simply have a smaller (usually 1.8 to 2.9 millimeter) diameter. They are “skinnier” titanium screws. Because of this reduction in size, mini implants are often a great option when a larger size implant cannot fit into the available bone or anatomy.
Because SDIs have a small diameter, the surgery for patients to receive them is less complicated, less painful, and less invasive. The procedure also requires fewer parts and fewer visits to the dental office. These factors add up to a reduction in cost and make small diameter implants more affordable and more available to more patients.
So how can SDIs help you? In the U.S., it is estimated that 178 million people are missing at least one tooth. The best way to replace a missing tooth or teeth is with dental implants. The most common way to retain, improve, or stabilize a loose denture or partial denture is with dental implants. Many people are unhappy with their false teeth because they flop around when eating or talking. Small diameter implants can add stability to an existing denture or partial, often in a single visit. Sometimes, they can be used with your current appliance, avoiding the cost of a new set of teeth.
SDIs can also be used to support fixed tooth replacements, such as crowns and bridges. A conventional implant is usually the treatment of choice, but there are times when a small diameter implant does the trick. They can also be used to help move teeth in orthodontics and to provide short term temporary teeth in an emergency.
Everyone’s mouth is different, so a trip to the dentist would be required to see if SDIs are an option for you. If they are, you will be amazed at how much a tiny titanium screw can improve your life.
Until next time, keep smiling.
-Please send questions to Drs. Parrish through www.ParrishDental.com.