What is different between regular and mini dental implants?
Mini dental implants have recently become an option to help anchor complete and partial dentures. Some dentists like the idea that they can be less invasive and are less likely to get close to nerves or vessels. Patients like mini implants because they cost less than traditional implants. We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each type and why we should remain cautious about where mini implants are being used.
In our practice, we have been successfully using traditional dental implants for around 25 years. When properly maintained with regular check ups and good home care, dental implants have proved be one of the most successful practices in dentistry. Decades of research have shown how and why implants succeed, and their consistency has helped us to gain confidence in using them. However, mini implants are relatively new. We don’t have the same scientific backing of the mini implants yet. Until research shows otherwise, I believe traditional dental implants are a more predictable option in replacing teeth and supporting dentures.
The question remains: If mini implants are less expensive, is it worth the risk? The difference in price can definitely be short term benefit, but they are less likely to last as long as traditional implants. There is a concern that mini implants do not have enough length and width to support the biting forces needed to function over the long haul. If the mini implants need to be replaced multiple times over the course of 1 traditional dental implant, then you would have been better served both financially and physically to go with a regular implant.
At this point, there are very few situations when I would recommend the use of mini implants. Until more definitive data can support mini implants, we will continue to recommend traditional implants to support dentures and replace missing teeth.