Dental implants offer the strongest, most reliable, and longest-lasting solution for the replacement of missing teeth. Traditional dental implants are inserted directly into the jaw where they undergo a process called osseointegration, during which osteoblasts and connective tissue adhere to tiny holes on the implant's surface and securing it into bone. This process serves two important functions:
- It helps to ensure that the implant will not come loose or fall out
- It allows the implant to replace the missing tooth’s root, thereby preventing the otherwise unavoidable issue of jaw shrinkage
The roots of teeth serve serval functions, not the least of which is supplying signals to the body that bone is needed in that specific area of the jaw. No root means no signal, which often results in the body reabsorbing minerals around the missing tooth and creating a sunken or collapsed appearance to the jaw. Dental implants are the only type of tooth replacement that addresses this issue.
What Happens When There is Insufficient Bone in the Jaw?
Traditional dental implants are typically four to five millimeters in size. In order for these implants to be effective, your jaw must have sufficient width and depth to support them. When your jaw lacks sufficient density, you may be presented with a few different options: undergo bone grafting surgery to add bulk to the jaw, have mini dental implants placed, or look to a solution like a dental bridge or adhesive-supported dentures.
Dental bridges are certainly a workable option. Strong, reliable, and attractive, a bridge can be secured to porcelain dental crowns placed over adjacent teeth, enabling them to restore both function and aesthetics to the smile. This prevents adjacent tooth slippage while restoring bite tension and strength, and is a fantastic solution for some of our patients. What dental bridges cannot do is prevent further bone loss. This means that, over time, your bridge will have to be adjusted to accommodate your shrinking jaw.
Adhesive-secured dentures are not as reliable, attractive, or strong as dental bridges and are not typically recommended by Dr. Tenney.
Mini Dental Implants
While smaller in diameter, mini dental implants are still inserted directly into your jaw, making them a more secure option than a dental bridge while allowing them to help prevent structural changes to your jaw. If you are not a good candidate for traditional implants and bone grafting is not a suitable option, mini dental implants may be the best treatment available.
At our Phoenix-area office, mini dental implants are used to secure dentures for optimal strength and support. As opposed to adhesives, which can become unstuck and allow dentures to slip or fall out, implant-supported dentures stay securely in place.
Dr. Tenney offers different implant-supported denture options including:
- Bar retained – for full dentures supported by mini implants placed at intervals
- Ball retained – for partial dentures supported by single implants
As with any restorative service, the option that is best for your needs will be based on several factors unique to your desires and your anatomy. During your initial consultation, Dr. Tenney will carefully assess your teeth and gums, provide you with honest information about all of your options, and help you decide which treatment will produce the best results in your case.
To learn if mini dental implants are right for your smile, call Desert Smiles at 602-978-1790 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Tenney today. Located in Glendale, we welcome patients from all surrounding Arizona communities, including Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Peoria.