Mini implants are only 1.8mm wide as compared to conventional implants which are usually 3.5mm or wider. Mini implants are not shorter, just narrower. The picture below (Fig.1) shows a mini implant next to a conventional implant. Conventional implants are more complicated and allow for different attachments to be screwed on to the implant. Mini implants come in one piece, are simpler and usually a lot cheaper but are not as versatile.
It’s very unlikely they will break if used correctly. Like anything they have there limitations but used correctly they will provide many years of excellent service. They are made of Titanium Type 5 which is a Titanium alloy with 60% more strength than Type 4 Titanium which is used in most conventional implants. A mini implant of 1.8mm diameter is of similar strength to a conventional implant of 3.5mm diameter.
Following the extraction of a tooth the bone and the gum also shrinks away. Dentists call this ‘resorption’. If there is a lot of shrinkage or resorption then there may not be enough bone left to place an implant. There has to be enough height of bone and enough width of bone to have implants. If a person looses all their teeth then the bone shrinkage is greater and progresses over time. Look at the picture below (Fig.2.) to see how the appearance of the face changes over time due to the shrinkage of the gums and bone. Because mini implants are narrower (1.8mm) they can be placed when the bone is very narrow (4mm) where as conventional implants would require 6-7mm. This means that by using mini implants we can avoid bone grafting which makes treatment a lot simpler, cheaper,faster and less unpleasant.
The indications for Mini Dental Implants are more limited than conventional implants. Whilst you can use them to replace single teeth and for fixed bridges there is currently not alot of research telling us how they will perform in the long term. There are a number of factors which will influence whether Mini Dental Implants are suitable to replace your teeth.
If you have no lower teeth and wear full lower dentures then Mini Dental Implants may be a great way of stabilising your lower denture. Dr.Doonan has been placing Mini Dental Implants for 10 years. In that time he has seen the benefits of Mini Dental Implants in hundreds of patients with Lower Full Dentures.
The picture below (Fig.3.) shows how by placing 4 Mini Dental Implants in the lower jaw, many of the problems associated with Lower Full Dentures can be overcome.