If you're looking to replace a missing or soon to be extracted tooth, you may be considering using an implant to fill the gap. Implants are often a strong and viable tooth replacement option, filling a gap with a post that is embedded into your bone so that it can securely hold a false tooth in place.
If you've done your research, you'll also know that you can opt for a standard implant or a mini version. At first glance, a mini implant may seem more of an attractive solution than a regular sized option. Mini implants cost about half as much as standard-sized implants, take less time to fit and are quicker to heal.
While a mini implant may seem like a no-brainer to you, your dentist may not agree, especially if you're looking to replace a molar tooth. Why is using a mini implant potentially problematic on molars and what are your alternatives?
It's All About the Chew
Mini implant posts are smaller than regular implant posts and, as such, they may not be as strong. The post you have fitted is the anchor for your tooth and it needs to be fit for purpose. While smaller implants may work well on some teeth, they may not be the best option for your molars.
Out of all your teeth, your molars are designed to take most of the strain of chewing when you eat. This is why molars are squatter and bigger than your front teeth; they also need to be stronger to cope with the everyday stresses of chewing. While a mini implant may be a good solution for a front tooth that does less chewing work, this may not be a good solution for a molar. A smaller sized implant post may not be strong enough to withstand the strain that your tooth exerts when you chew, making it more likely that the implant will break and fail.
While you may prefer a mini implant over a standard implant, your dentist is the best person to make this decision. In some cases, your dentist may advise a mini product. For example, smaller implants may be a good solution if your tooth space is unusually small; some dentists use a number of mini implant posts in one space to hold a tooth or to bridge adjacent teeth.
If your dentist feels that fitting a mini implant to a molar will not be enough of a strong and stable solution, you may be advised to opt for a regular sized implant instead. A larger implant may be more likely to give your new false molar tooth the support and strength it needs to carry on chewing for years to come.