Mini dental implants have been the source of controversy among dental professionals in recent years. First introduced for temporary use in supporting an interim prosthesis during the healing phase of conventional dental implant restoration, mini implants are now being used by many dentists in lieu of regular implants.
However, many dental professionals have significant reservations about the use of mini dental implants as a permanent support structure for dental restorations.
Mini Dental Implants: A Temporary Solution
Mini implants are dental implants with a diameter of less than 3 millimeters, as apposed to standard implants that typically measure four to five millimeters, and are available in various lengths. Like standard dental implants, mini implants are made of titanium and are inserted into the jawbone.
Originally, mini implants were used primarily as a means of securing a temporary crown, bridge or denture after standard dental implants were placed, providing a cosmetic solution as the implant was given time to integrate into the jawbone. Today, use of mini dental implants as the foundation for a variety of dental reconstruction procedures is becoming common, ranging from stabilizing removable dentures to securing permanent dentures, bridges and crowns.
Dental professionals who are proponents of these uses for mini implants point out that the surgical procedure to place these smaller diameter implants is quicker and less invasive than standard implant placement, and can often be done in situations where bone loss or small spaces makes traditional implants difficult to place. These factors make reconstruction with mini dental implants a less costly option than standard implants, and both the procedure and recovery times are shorter. Additionally, these implants are less expensive than standard implants, further reducing the costs of treatment. Revitalize Dental Implants can help answer your questions.
Issues With Mini Dental Implants?
However, many dental professionals are not in any hurry to jump on the mini implant bandwagon. Since these uses for mini dental implants are fairly new on the implant dentistry scene, clinical evidence on long term results of these procedures is not available.
Shorter term studies on their effectiveness suggests that failure rates are significantly higher with these smaller implants than with standard implant placement, ranging from 6 to 13 percent in various studies, as opposed to 3 to 5 percent in regular implants.
Evidence has also shown that mini dental implants have a substantially lower bite force tolerance than standard implants, which may make them more likely to bend or break over time.
Additionally, although the cost per implant is lower, two or even three mini dental implants are often required to anchor larger teeth securely, such as molars, while they can be secured with just one standard implant.
Revitalize Dental Implants has decided that the jury is still out on the use of mini implants in dental restorations. While claims that they produce results comparable to standard implants abound, there is little evidence behind those claims, and a number of studies indicate that treatment with mini dental implants may be less reliable than traditional implant-based restoration.
They are less expensive, but keep in mind, standard dental implants have been in use for decades, have mountains of clinical evidence supporting safety and effectiveness, and have an average lifespan of 25 years. As the saying goes, sometimes you get what exactly what you pay for – which may well be the case with this cheaper implant option.
If you have more questions about mini dental implants, please feel free to contact us!
Photo credit: Kelly Teague