New to the market are mini implants, which use much smaller screws – and several of them – to secure a crown to the jawbone. They are being marketed as a cheaper and faster alternative to regular implants, but people should exercise caution if they are considering them for long-term use.
“Typically, mini implants are used at the National Dental Centre Singapore (NDCS) as anchorage in orthodontic treatments,” said Dr See Toh Yoong Liang, Senior Registrar, Prosthodontic Unit, Department of Restorative Dentistry, NDCS. “There is not a lot of evidence to support using mini implants as a permanent tooth replacement solution. This is because they have a very narrow diameter and, therefore, a higher risk of breakage or fracture over the long term.”
NDCS has treated a number of problems resulting from the improper use of mini implants, said Dr See Toh. “We generally see more complications arising from mini implants used as a permanent measure, compared with conventional implants with wider diameters.”
Knowing the options, undergoing comprehensive checks and choosing the right type of dental implant will help to improve the success rate of replacing a missing tooth.
“Implants are subject to considerable wear and tear from chewing and biting, so it is very important to choose the right type,” added Dr See Toh.
After surgery, people should care for their implants by brushing and flossing, and going for a regular dental exam once a year. People who smoke should quit and those with diabetes should control their sugar levels, as both can affect bone healing and the success of implants.
Steps in dental implant surgery
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