Mini dental implant usage continues to increase at a rapid rate in comparison to traditional or more conventional implants.
They are less complex, less surgery is required and the costs are significantly less. Overall, fewer complications arise from mini dental implants than conventional implants however there are certain things to be aware about beforehand. These are also the implants that many general dentists use rather than specialists.
Although there are many advantages in comparison to traditional and conventional implants, it is important to realise that they can have certain disadvantages but overall, their advantages easily outweigh their drawbacks which in any case can be predicted beforehand. The main disadvantages relate to the following three situations that can occur.
A disadvantage of mini implants can be difficult to replicate and to look like a proper permanent tooth in the anterior region. This arises if there is a high smile line or if there has been extensive bone resorption. By definition, a mini dental implant has a diameter of between 1.5 mm to about 2.5 mm.
As a consequence, the abutment or head of the implant will be smaller than a more conventional implant. This can make it more difficult to restore the tooth so that it is aesthetically imperceptible from the adjacent natural teeth. The difficulty lies in achieving a good emergence profile.
The laboratory who will ultimately make the permanent crown, sometimes will try to navigate the difficulty with the emergence profile by over-contouring the permanent crown. If the patient is not capable of cleaning underneath the crown, peri-implantitis may occur as a result although these conditions seem to occur far less frequently than with conventional implants.
However, if the crown margin is not in the smile- line all or it is further back in the mouth, then this is not an issue at all.
A mini dental implant is a one piece implant in that the abutment and the thread of the implant is all in one piece. This is one of the reasons why they are so much easier to place.
Due to these implants being a one-piece system, it is sometimes necessary clinically to use a 2 piece system where the crown and the implant have a different and significant angulation. Small differences in angulation can be accomplished by adjusting the implant abutment when prepping that tooth.
Where a more significant angulation is required which cannot be achieved by prepping the abutment, in these situations, a mini implant may not be suitable. However, if this is envisaged beforehand and the patient is willing to compromise the appearance, then these implants can still be used successfully.
Mini dental implants have by definition smaller surface areas and therefore they cannot be used in areas of high loading. They can still be used for dental bridgework but the loading has to be commensurate with the situation.
You also have to be careful as with traditional implants when treating patients who have bruxism and clenching. As long as you are sensible and adhered to the manufacturers guidelines, you are in safe territory.
Once you know the limits of many dental implants, they are extremely advantageous and have important and significant features for long-term use.