What are mini dental implants?

While your dentist or oral surgeon will usually recommend traditional dental implants, there are certain circumstances where mini implants are the preferred–or only possible option.

In this post, we’ll discuss the difference between the two techniques and cover when mini dental implants could be right for you.

Strength, size and installation

  • Mini implants measure approximately ½ the diameter of regular implants (1.8-3.3mm compared to 3.4-5.8mm.)
  • Mini implants are not as strong as traditional implants so often many are placed to gain as much support as possible. For this reason, mini implants tend to be used for securing dentures as opposed to a single tooth.
  • Due to their smaller diameter, mini implants are easier to install. Instead of cutting back the gums to expose the bone, minis can often be drilled directly through the gum tissue.
  • Conventional implants offer more surface area which allows for stronger chewing force, better weight distribution and stability and greater durability.

Most common applications

Perhaps the most successful application of mini implants is to stabilize fixed dentures in patients with insufficient bone structure to handle traditional implants.  Two to four mini implants are commonly placed per arch. Mini implants are also used to anchor removable dental bridges and, in some cases, single crowns when bone deterioration is present.

For most situations, mini implants are only recommended when traditional implants are not an option. Mini implants can be a less permanent solution than traditional implants.  Mini implant supported dentures must be removed daily by the patient for cleaning. In other cases, care is similar to brushing and flossing your natural teeth.