The mini implant is as the name says: it is smaller than the normal sized implant and were originally designed as a temporary measure. The idea was that these would be inserted as a temporary implant and then removed at a later date, replaced by the full sized implant.
However, they were found to be a useful type of implant in their own right. They tend to work best as a replacement for small teeth or incisors.
They are placed in the jawbone but because of their limited height do not fuse easily with the jaw bone (osseointegration). But, they do last a long time and tend to be used as a means of stabilising the lower denture, especially in older patients.
If a patient’s x-ray shows bone loss then they normally require a bone graft before the implant is inserted. However, they may be reluctant to do so, either for reasons of age or health.
If this is the case then a mini dental implant may be an acceptable choice of implant. It is a solid although smaller form of implant and does not require the patient to undergo a bone graft beforehand.
The mini implant is comprised of a slim titanium rod that has a retaining fixture which can be incorporated into a denture. The head of the implant is shaped like a ball and the retaining attachment contains a rubber ‘O-ring’ that acts like a socket.
This holds a denture in place by means of the rubber ‘O-ring’ which snaps over the ball at the top of the implant. This enables the denture to rest nicely on top of the gum tissue.
These are fast becoming a popular choice of implant for many patients who are uncomfortable with the thought of a full implant or are worried about the cost!
If you do decide to have an implant then you will find that you have a choice of two techniques:
- Immediate loading
- Delayed Placement