A mini implant is a dental implant that is fabricated with a reduced diameter and a shorter length, but made with the same biocompatible material (usually titanium) as compared with traditional dental implants. MDIs has basically two parts: a titanium post with a ball on the end, and a socket with a rubber O-ring that attaches the tooth to the post. MDIs are associated with excellent survival rates, favorable marginal bone loss, and increased satisfaction and quality of life of patients. The process of inserting a mini implant is so much less invasive and less time consuming with no surgery necessary when compared with traditional dental implants.
Mini dental implants vs traditional dental implants
- Mini dental implants are significantly smaller in diameter than traditional implants. Whereas a standard implants ranges from 3.5mm to 6mm, a mini implant can be anywhere from 2mm to 3.5mm wide.
- Unlike the traditional implant feature two pieces: a post and an abutment, mini implants are one solid piece that screws into the bone. On the top of the device is a ball-shaped protrusion, which helps support dentures. Typically, the denture has a rubber O-ring that slides over this ball-shaped part.
- Mini implants can often be placed in a single office visit. Traditional implants often requires two surgical procedures. The first surgery is more extensive and invasive than that of mini implants. The second surgery is minor and involves uncovering the post and attaching the abutment.
- Mini implants usually cost less than traditional posts because they are smaller and made with less material. However, number of mini implants required may be more in case of multiple teeth rehabilitation.
- Overdenture prosthesis as an alternative treatment when standard implant placement is not possible.
- Limitations regarding the placement of standard implants.
- Patients with limited economic capabilities.
- For rehabilitation of the teeth in a narrow ridge.
- When the facial-lingual width of the bone is insufficient for the placement of a traditional implant.
- In the atrophic posterior mandible.
Contraindications include but are not limited to the following:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Clotting disorders
- Anticoagulant therapy
- Metabolic bone disease
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Chronic periodontal inflammation
- Insufficient soft tissue coverage
- Systemic disorders like osteoporosis
- Uncontrolled parafunctional habits like Bruxism
The primary disadvantages of mini implants for definitive treatment are as follows:
- The need for multiple implants because of the unpredictability and lack of current scientific guidelines and understanding.
- The limited scientific evidence about long-term survival.
- Fracture potential of the implant during placement.
- Lack of parallelism between implants is less forgiving because of the one-piece design.
- The reduction in resistance to occlusal loading, similar to narrow diameter implants.
- Other disadvantages attributable to flapless surgery such as lack of bone visibility, inability to irrigate the bone, and contraindications in situations requiring alveoloplasty to gain prosthetic space.