My prosthodontist refuses to give me a mini implant and I’m wondering if I should get a second opinion. I have a broken, abscessed top molar. It was weak already and I regret not getting a crown for it. Last week my dentist referred me to a prosthodontist for the tooth. She agreed with my dentist that I need to have the tooth extracted and then replaced with an implant. I have already an implant for another tooth, but I don’t like the way it looks. The tooth looks fake. Now that I need another implant that I wasn’t expecting, I’m trying to do it in the most affordable way possible. So I asked the prosthodontist for a mini implant. She said that a mini won’t stand up under the pressure of biting and chewing. Why do other dentists still use them if they are no good? Do you have any advice? Is she just trying to upsell me? Thanks. Tegan
Tegan – Your prosthodontist is correct. Implants come in different sizes and are used for different purposes. A molar tooth needs a standard fixture—not a mini implant. Consider the facts.
Why Your Prosthodontist Won’t Recommend a Mini Implant
Mini implants have specific uses. They are 1/3 the diameter of standard fixtures, so they won’t work for every case of missing teeth, including molars. But they do work well in the following cases:
- Support dentures – A mini implants are primarily designed to support dentures.
- Replace smaller teeth and incisors – If you have a small tooth that needs to be replaced—such as an incisor or a small premolar—your prosthodontist would recommend a mini implant. They are not strong enough to support molar teeth. Molar teeth chew, crush, and grind food. A small implant fixture can easily bend or break under the pressure. A standard dental implant will be needed.
- Replace narrow teeth – These thin implants can also be used replace narrow teeth when standards implants are too large.
How to Find the Right Prosthodontist for Natural-Looking Results
So you will need a standard implant to replace your molar tooth. If your interest is in a mini implant because you don’t like the way your current implant crown looks, discuss your concerns with your prosthodontist. Ensure you choose a prosthodontist with extensive training in cosmetic dentistry. He or she will match the implant crown to the color, translucency, and look of your natural teeth.
Ask to see before-and-after photos of cases like yours. See if you can distinguish the patient’s implant tooth from his or her natural teeth in the photos. If necessary, get a second or third opinion until you find the right provider to give you the results you want.
This post is sponsored by board-certified implant dentist and international lecturer Dr. Anthony LaVacca.