Mini implants are the most common type of implant used with dentures, especially for the replacement of old, ill-fitting dentures that make unwanted noise, slip out of place, or cause discomfort.
While mini dental implants offer many benefits for denture wearers, it’s important to explore their limitations and potential drawbacks. For instance, while their minimally invasive placement allows you to get permanent dentures in a single appointment, you will need more of them compared to regular implants, especially in the upper jaw, to provide sufficient support for your false teeth. This means more wounds in your mouth.
So it’s important to consider the pros and cons of various implant-supported dentures with your dentist in order to make an informed decision about your dental restoration.
Advantages of mini dental implants
- Compared to larger implants, minis do not require a lot of bone, which makes them the best choice for people who lost their natural teeth years ago and never replaced them.
- In addition, patients who have been disqualified from other types of implants due to health conditions can still have minis installed.
- Unlike the regular implants, minis are minimally invasive, stable, and ready for immediate use after the installation procedure. This implies that patients can start using their dentures, like for eating, without waiting for hours after the surgery.
- The technology behind minis allows patients to capitalize on the ease and comfort of palateless upper dentures, which do not cover the mouth’s roof.
- Implants are a comfortable, secure, and noiseless option that makes for a relaxed and worry free user, so you never have to be afraid of those embarrassing denture slips.
Limitations of Mini Dental Implants
1. Size Limitations
Mini dental implants, as the name suggests, are smaller in size compared to traditional implants. This size difference can present certain limitations. Due to their smaller diameter, mini dental implants may have reduced stability and load-bearing capacity. The smaller size may not be suitable for cases that require significant support and strength, such as replacing multiple missing teeth or supporting full arch restorations.
2. More Surgical Sites
The size limitations of mini implants can be counteracted by strategically placing a larger number of mini implants, which makes it possible to distribute the forces more evenly across the jawbone, thereby compensating for their reduced individual capacity.
While this approach allows for a more secure and reliable foundation for the denture, enhancing its functionality and reducing the risk of movement or dislodgment, the use of multiple mini implants also means more surgical sites and vulnerable spots in your gums that are at risk of infections.
However, proper surgical techniques, adherence to sterilization protocols, and post-operative care, including taking antibiotics, can significantly minimize the risk of infections associated with the surgical procedure.
3. Reduced Long-Term Success Rate
Research and studies have indicated that mini dental implants may have a lower long-term success rate compared to traditional implants, largely due to the limited osseointegration, which is the process of the implant fusing with the jawbone, as well as an increased risk of implant failure.
4. Limited Restorative Options
Due to their smaller size, the range of available dental prosthetics may be limited, making it challenging to achieve optimal aesthetics and functional outcomes. Patients seeking a wide range of restoration choices, such as different materials or customization options, may find that traditional implants offer more flexibility in meeting their specific needs.
5. Risk of Peri-implantitis
Peri-implantitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the tissues surrounding dental implants. While it can occur with both traditional and mini implants, the risk may be higher with mini dental implants due to factors such as limited surface area and difficulty in maintaining proper oral hygiene around the smaller implants. Peri-implantitis can lead to complications such as bone loss and implant failure if not addressed promptly.
6. Need for Adequate Bone Density
To ensure successful placement and long-term stability of mini dental implants, it is crucial to have adequate bone density. The jawbone serves as the foundation for supporting the implants, and without sufficient bone density, the implants may not integrate properly or have the necessary support. Individuals with significant bone loss or resorption may face challenges in receiving mini dental implants. It is essential for patients to undergo a thorough evaluation by a dental professional to determine the suitability of mini implants based on their bone density and overall oral health.
7. Higher Cost Comparisons
When considering the cost of dental implants, it is important to compare the expenses associated with mini dental implants and traditional implants. While mini implants are generally considered more affordable than traditional implants, the total cost may vary depending on the individual case. Multiple mini implants may be required to provide adequate support, which can contribute to higher costs compared to the placement of a few traditional implants.
8. Limited Use for Certain Cases
Mini dental implants may not be suitable for all cases and have certain limitations in their use. Situations that require full arch restorations or involve extensive tooth loss may not be ideal for mini implants. Traditional implants are often preferred for these complex cases due to their larger size, greater stability, and ability to support extensive prosthetic restorations. Proper case selection and evaluation by a dental professional are crucial to determine the most appropriate implant option for each individual’s unique needs.
While mini dental implants offer certain advantages, it is important to be aware of the disadvantages associated with their use. Factors such as the need for adequate bone density, higher cost comparisons, and limited suitability for certain cases should be carefully considered when deciding on the most appropriate dental implant option.
The decision should be made in consultation with a qualified dental professional who can evaluate the individual’s specific needs and provide guidance based on their expertise and knowledge.