Mini Dental Implants Vs. Traditional Dental Implants

Posted on Jul 28, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Occasionally, I am asked my opinion on mini dental implants. Mini implants have a certain appeal to patients because the cost is nearly half of that required for traditional implants. However, like anything cheaper, these mini versions of traditional implants have their drawbacks.

Despite claims of mini implants being the same as traditional implants when it comes to strength, their placement in minimal bone leaves a compromised ability to withstand the normal forces of biting and chewing. Although, in cases where the anticipated load on the tooth will be less, such as canine (or ‘eye’) teeth, mini implants may be a consideration.

Because they are smaller and require a single placement procedure, mini dental implants are less costly than traditional implants. With traditional implants, placement is at a greater depth in the jawbone. There is also a waiting period before your final replacement teeth are attached. During this time, you are able to comfortably wear a denture, partial or temporary. This waiting period allows your bone to grow around the traditional implant, which securely anchors it in place and may take three to six months.

A traditional implant is a hollow titanium cylinder to which a post that supports replacement teeth is attached. Mini implants are shorter, solid posts placed in the jaw bone at less depth. Mini implants have no internal post and extend directly from the bone to the replacement teeth.

Being only two-thirds the size of a traditional implant, placement for mini implants can be done in one appointment with the immediate attachment of teeth. Combined with the cost savings factor, this naturally seems an appealing alternative to traditional implants.

However, traditional dental implants have withstood the test of time and have one of the most successful track records of all in-bone implants. Solidly anchored into the jawbone, just as natural tooth roots, they restore a dependable strength and stability so you can enjoy all the foods you love.

Mini dental implants are still a new concept with far less data to reasonably determine their success rate. When it comes to dental specialists who have years of experience with all types of dental implants, many are apprehensive about placing them because of an unknown potential for success. In spite of their appeal to patients as a less-costly option, seasoned periodontists know their risk for problems is at a greater level.

Every dentist wants you to enjoy a successful outcome when it comes to dental implants. Because of the failure potential, recommending mini implants in lieu of traditional implants is not something I do. Since every mouth is different, I can only make recommendations that I see as being the best for optimal outcomes. It is the patient who must ultimately decide on the option best for their long-term goals and investment.

Before making a final decision, I am happy to meet with you during a consultation. Here, we can discuss all your options and the advantages and challenges of each. Call (828) 274-9440 to arrange a time.

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