my research of mini dental implants leads me to beleive that they're preferrable and cost less than regular dental implants if you have a single tooth gap/problem. i'd like expert opinion about mini implants. do you recommend them for your patients? when?
Mini Dental Implants - Mini Tooth Implant Tips
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Mini implants are not recommended
Mini implants are FDA approved for temporary support of dentures at this time. They are inexpensive and as reported by some, relatively simple to place (although it is never that simple!). So some dentists are encouraged by companies that sell these implants to place them rather than a conventional and accepted dental implant. The fact is they fail often: Fractures, infection, and poor stability.
Even for temporary use, they have comlications. So my recommendation is not to have mini-implants and use regular and conventional dental implants for teeth replacement. Such implants work, are predictable, and have 98% plus success rate. Mini implants do not.
The Benefits of Mini Dental Implants
Nothing seems to stir up so much debate and misinformation for the very patients we as dentist should help as Mini Dental Implants. I think we should choose the high road and explain each option fully and correctly.
Mini dental implants are approved by the FDA in the US for long term use for fixed(crowns and bridges) and removable (partial and full upper and lower dentures). There is no gain in telling patients that they are not....simply not true. You can Google FDA approval for mini dental implants and you will find the 510(k) right there on the FDA.gov web pages.
40 Million Americans are without teeth.
Only about 3-5% of them have dental implants. Why such a few number of people with dental implants? Typical answer is COST. Traditional implant therapy has left out most Americans. Mini dental implants can offer a solution at a different price point. The procedure to place a mini dental implant is very simple and lots of the surgery and recovery time has been removed. With less surgery comes less cost to the patient.
What are Mini Dental Implants made out of?
Mini dental implants are made of the same Titanium alloy as the larger traditional implants. They have the same surface coatings to allow for them to fuse to your jaw bones; and they do.
Are Mini Implants less expensive?
With the advent of the one piece mini dental implant there are no additional parts and pieces to buy. A typical traditional dental implant consists of the screw that will act as the root of the missing tooth. The dentist then has to purchase an additional part called the abutment. The abutment is what comes up out of the gum and hold the crown or denture in place. Since the mini dental implant is one piece there is no additional fee since the abutment is built right into the implant.
Are Mini Implants Strong?
The mini dental implant is a solid one piece Titanium alloy screw. The traditional implant is hollow in the center to allow the attachment of the abutment with a screw. Thus a mini implant can be just as strong as a larger two piece implant since there is no screw hole in the center. You decide what is stronger a hollow tube or a solid tube?
Is there research and credible Dentists placing Mini Dental Implants?
There are studies showing that mini dental implants work just as well as traditional implants in both upper and lower jaws for both fixed crowns and snap in/out dentures. These were published in Compendium, a well respected dental journal. Dr. Gordon Christensen, a well respected dentist, teaches how to place and restore mini dental implants. I don't think you will find any dentist in the US that does not have respect for the contributions he has made to organized dentistry worldwide.
Can Mini Implants be used where there has been bone loss?
Absolutely. That is one of the key benefits of the mini implant. Due to its small size it can be inserted into areas where traditional implants would not be possible.
To answer the original question....Can Mini Dental Implants be used to correct a single missing tooth or gap. Of course they can. If it is a small tooth then one mini will be sufficient to be used as an anchor for for fixed crown. If it is a larger tooth such as a molar then 2 mini implants can be used. Your original tooth had two roots so the most correct biological solution is two implants. Where should they be placed and at what angle? Well bio-mechanically in the same anatomical spots where the original roots were.
Mini Dental Implants may not be the perfect solution to every case. However it does have its place in implant dentistry as another viable choice for patients to consider.
Both mini implants & traditional implants use the same method to integrate or become part of the bone. The difference is the size. The difference in size is blurring, with larger mini implants and smaller traditional implants. There is no scientific difference between implants only a legal/political/FDA difference. Choosing the right implant type for you is a decision that you make with your Dr based on your specific needs.
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Mini Dental Implants as a viable option for tooth replacement
Mini-implants are one of the most controversial topics in dentistry. There’s a lot of misinformation and confusion on the topic. First let’s define what we mean by mini-implants. Conventional implants are 3.7mm in diameter or greater, hybrid implants are 3.0-3.7mm in diameter and Mini-implants are less than 3.0mm in diameter.
Originally mini-implants were used as temporary implants. But it was later recognized that bone would grow around the implants making them very difficult to remove. Mini implants have been approved by the FDA for long term use for crowns, bridges and removable over-dentures.
What I like most about using smaller implants is that many of my patients who lack bone and previously could not get implants, without extensive surgery, are candidates for mini-implants. This has made implant dentistry accessible to millions more patients. The procedure to place mini-implants is quicker, involves less drilling of bone, and less post operative discomfort than with traditional implants.
There’s at least 12 years of documented cases by doctors such as Dr. Shatkin. The success rate is very similar to that of regular implants. Dr. Gordon Christensen one of the most well respected speakers published many articles supporting mini-implants as a great option for patients to replace missing teeth.
In my practice I place implants of various sizes depending on what's best for the patient. I advise you to consult with a trusted dentist who is trained in placing mini-implants regarding your situation.
Mini Dental Implants
Mini Implants are useful in a few ways. If your bone where teeth are missing is very shallow and narrow, then a Mini can do. Also, if cost is a factor, then Mini's are a little cheaper to place. What is not known is the longevity of the Mini. They may last forever, 5 years or less. Typically they last a long time but not enough research is out on this yet. They are a good service for immediate placement and use right away. They generally cost about half of a normal implant.
Mini dental implants - new market trends
Originally mini dental implants were introduced on the market as TEMPORARY devices that can be utilized in intermediate step of full mouth reconstruction and they were removed in the end of the treatment. Financial crisis and dental market pushed mini dental implants which are produced usually by clone implant companies to the extreme. Now according to the advertisement mini implants can be successfully used in anterior mandible to fixate the denture. Unfortunately, it has very little research support and is completely missing long-term studies. Mini implant have only advantage - the price. Their other characteristics are rather questionable- their biocompatibility with oral tissue, biomechanical stability, risks of complications. Even in the situations of narrow alveolar ridge in anterior mandible leading implant companies have Narrow Neck implants that can satisfy almost any clinical situation. Mini implants are not able to handle the occlusal load of a crown during chewing and are doomed to failure. Saving the finaces on the implant quality can lead to unexpected complications in the future.
Mini Dental implants versus regular implants
Placed correctly a mini implant can support a removable denture or even a fixed (cemented) bridge. Basically we choose an implant based upon the available bone. In our office , we will use the largest sized implant possible based upon the bone width and bone consistency. Therefore if we can use a full size implant , then that is our preference. If bone is limited we may utilize a mini implant. If patient finances are a concern we will utilize a mini implant as long as it does not compromise the result or provide the patient with an inferior restoration. Many times, especially in the front of the mouth a mini implant may be the choice for a single tooth gap/problem.
Mini Dental Implants
Mini implants were designed for temporary use. In some cases during the healing phase of regular dental implants, some patients prefer to have temporary prosthesis which is where mini dental implants are great. They frequently fail within 1 year.
If you are looking for a permanent option, my recommendation is to go with a well-researched and guaranteed brand of dental implants such as Nobel Biocare, 3i, Straumann, or AstraTech. I know you may find contradicting information online, but I encourage you to look into the research studies (i.e. Pubmed) rather than company-driven advertisements.
Mini Dental Implants
Mini Dental Implants should not be used to replace a single missing tooth. They are not strong enough in my opinion to support the chewing forces of a single tooth.
They are a good treatment option for patients who are currently wearing a denture and who need some added support and retention of their denture.
They can be placed in areas of thin bone because they are smaller (hence, mini) than regular implants.
After they heal the denture can be modified to attach onto the head of the implant.
Mini dental implants vs conventional sized implants
Research shows that conventional size dental implants are more predictable than minis for long term stability. The reason is that the larger implant has a greater surface area for bone to attach to and stabilize the implant. I prefer to use minis when I have a patient that wants additional support to a full or partial denture, but who has medical issues that may prevent the use of conventional size implants. I also use the minis as temporary implants to hold a new denture in place until the conventional sized implants heal. Lastly, I would use a mini for an ultra thin tooth replacement site where a convention sized impant would not fit.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.