21 Jul Mini Dental Implants
Smaller sized dental implants, known as mini dental implants, are fairly new technology and have been researched very little, but are used for people who have limited space in their jaw and who therefore cannot have full sized implants fitted.
Today, ocassionally we see the use of Mini Dental Implants as a cheaper alternative to conventional Dental Implants. In situations of normal load, mini-dental implants are at risk of breaking as seen in the xrays.
In the first image a Conventional Dental Implant remains intact while the Mini Dental Implant fractured in half. Usually we find they are used as a cheap alternative to conventional dental implants. Apart from the size, the way the dental implant is designed and made is the same as with the larger sized implants.
Perhaps you can think of mini implants as nails, whereas you can think of conventional implants as screws or bolts. Mini-implants are any implant under 2.5mm diameter, whereas a conventional dental implant starts at 3.0mm diameter and the most common diameter is 3.5mm to 5.0mm. A tooth root diameter varies from front to back and is greater than a dental implant. Price One of the advantages of having mini dental implants is that are generally cheaper, although the overall cost will depend on how many implants you are having fitted, and how complex the work is.
Cheaper is not always better when it comes to dental work though, and cheaper now, doesn’t mean cheaper later. Also compare the cost of having mini dental implants with having standard dental implants as the price difference between the two may not be as great as you think. Because mini-implants have few published long-term studies, it is difficult to talk about long-term survival of a mini-implant, but from my clinical observations, they do have an increased level of breaking and loosening out of the mouth when over-loaded.
Given that mini dental implants are relative newcomers to the implant market compared with the standard dental implants, they are less proven and it is far harder to give any guarantees or long term prognosis about how they will stand up to years of use. Clinical studies supporting the use of mini dental implants are few and far between, and medical science is divided as to whether mini implants are any better than the full-sized equivalents. Given the lack of research and understanding as to whether there are advantages in mini implants, most patients are advised by their dentist to opt for standard dental implants instead. Even if there is limited bone in the mouth, new techniques such as grafting can mean that normal sized dental implants can be fitted in most cases. This article is written as an opinion of the author Dr Paul McKay from over ten years experience in Dental Implantology.