By Jeffrey Jones, DDS
Dental implants are one of the most significant developments in dentistry in the past 25 years. They provide long-term replacements for individuals suffering from broken, missing, or damaged teeth — restoring not only their teeth, but also their smile and self-confidence.
There are many kinds of implants available. Mini-implants are one option that has a wide range of application. Mini-implants are particularly valuable for those not having enough space in their mouth or not enough bone available and for those looking for a less expensive option. Following are some of the most common questions people have about mini-dental implants.
Q: How painful is getting mini-dental implants?
A: Since you do not need to create the large hole in the bone necessary for larger implants and since there is no incision and no sutures, most patients report they feel very little, if any, pain during and after the procedure. In fact, many patients do not use any pain pills and many use just ibuprofen.
During the treatment, you can listen to music on headphones, or watch the flatscreen TV on the ceiling. If you’re especially fearful, phobic, or pain sensitive, you have the option of doing the procedure with minimal sedation dentistry. Here’s how this works: you take small pills before you come to the office and you rest peacefully as the work is done. With this option, you often don`t remember the procedure the next day.
A prescription, if necessary, and a phone call later in the evening to make sure you are doing fine are recommended. The goal needs to be giving you beautiful, strong, more comfortable teeth, without experiencing pain or discomfort!
Q: How long will it take to complete the treatment?
A: Mini-implants are FDA approved for immediate loading. However, it is often recommended to wait a brief period of time to confirm the mini-implants are healing properly before loading them with teeth or a denture. Experienced dentists feel this waiting time is an issue of common sense. The natural strength of your bone is also a big issue. If your bone is strong, implants can be loaded immediately or soon thereafter. If your bone is softer (as is the case with some people) then it is wiser to wait a brief time for the implants to heal into place. Think of it as waiting for cement to harden and strengthen.
Q: Will I need one implant placed for each missing tooth?
A: No. In fact, it is possible to replace all of the lower teeth with an overdenture that is supported by only two to four implants. Sometimes it might work to your advantage to individually replace your back teeth with implants for each tooth to provide additional function. You have options.
Q: Am I too old for implants?
A: Your overall health and your desire to improve the quality of life are much more important than your age. There have been many reports of people in their 90s having this procedure done with no problems.
Q: How long do mini-implants last?
A: Mini-implants were introduced in 1999 and have a 95 percent nationwide success rate. The success rate of larger implants is also 95 percent.
Q: What is the cost of implants and mini-implants?
A: A reasonable estimate for one bigger implant plus crown is $4,000 and for one mini-implant plus crown $2,650, with one mini-implant molar (using two mini-implants) plus crown being $2,850. We all like things to be simple, but the only way to determine actual cost is by having a consultation and examination to find out if you have enough bone and if you’ll need one, two, or more implants. Obviously, costs vary greatly depending on individual situations.
Q: How can I find out if I’m a candidate, without feeling obligated to have the procedure done?
A: Great question. First, find an office that has years of experience and offers a free consultation. On the initial phone call, be candid, and tell the staff person you are wanting an evaluation and information, not a sales-pitch. Find a dentist who is looking out for your best interests.
A healthy mouth, a dazzling smile, or just the ability to properly chew food pays dividends in many ways for your entire life. While dental implants are, admittedly, not the least expensive option, they are the best option for most people and will improve your quality of life tremendously.
For more information about mini-implants or to schedule a dental check-up, you may contact Jeffrey Jones, DDS, LLC at
309-454-5830, or by visiting www.implantandcrown2650.com or www.jeffjonesdentistry.com. Jeffrey Jones DDS, LLC is located at 305 S. Linden Street in Normal. Dr. Jones is a general dentist and provides state-of-the-art dentistry for all ages.