What are Mini Dental Implants?
Mini Dental Implants are smaller version of the traditional implant. They are created from the same titanium alloys as conventional implants, and are available in varying lengths. Mini Dental Implants have a much smaller diameter than traditional implants (less than 3mm rather than 4-5mm).1 The procedure to place Mini Dental Implants is relatively quick. The patient typically receives local anesthesia and then a small drill enters the gum line and bone forming a cavity. The Mini Dental Implant is inserted into the jawbone and embedded leaving the top of the implant above the gum line. The dentist then places an attachment cap and the denture is secured over the cap.1
What are the pros and cons of Mini Dental Implants?
The biggest benefits of Mini Dental Implants are that they are less invasive and less expensive, however in Dr. Young’s experience these benefits are greatly overshadowed by the potential lack of long-term stability. The decreased diameter gives patients less bone interface with the implant which means more increased failure rates and decreased ability to withstand long-term occlusal forces.
While Mini Dental Implants are beneficial for a small group of elderly patients or patients that may be medically compromised and unable to undergo a more invasive surgery, Dr. Young believes larger diameter implants are a better choice for a majority of patients, as they provide a more predictable and long-term solution to edentulism. Additionally, because of these long-term success rates larger diameter implants may even prove to be more economical.
Though Mini Dental Implants may be a good option for a patient who is replacing multiple teeth they are NOT recommended as single tooth replacements. Fitting one or two teeth can not be supported, therefore, they need to be fit in groups for maximum benefit, in turn, they would not be a good option for many patients. Mini dental implants would also NOT be suitable for an individual who has significant bone loss, as they would not have enough bone for the screw. Also, patients who grind their teeth would find them to wear/break down very quickly and also individuals with larger sinuses would have a difficult time being fit for them, as their sinuses may protrude too far into the mouth which would prevent a safe fitting.2
- Rossarin Phinyowan. Mini Dental Implants Explained. Dental Departures. Written: Oct. 11, 2016. Available on: March 6, 2020. Website: https://www.dentaldepartures.com/article/mini-dental-implants-explained/
- Dr. Derek Fine. Pros and Cons of Mini Dental Implants. Aesthetic Family Dentistry (AFD PA). Written: Sept. 19, 2013. Available online: March 6, 2020. Website: https://www.aestheticfamilydentistry.com/dental-implants/pros-and-cons-of-mini-dental-implants/