About Your Teeth Are mini implants better than traditional dental implants?

Q & A's

Are mini implants better than traditional dental implants?

Mini vs Traditional

There is spirited debate in the field of implant dentistry in relation to the treatment of patients with mini dental implants. Many general dental practitioners have adopted these smaller and narrower implants as a less costly alternative to conventional dental implants.

Most specialists, however, advocate and recommend the use of traditional dental implant systems. Many are taking a cautious approach to the use of mini implants until long-term outcomes studies are published to support the general application of the smaller implants. Another reason that specialists recommend the use of conventional implants is the flexibility they provide in restoration design. Not every patient is the same and each restoration needs to be designed for each particular patient. A wide variety of components and attachments are available for most of the traditional implant systems – something that is not possible with mini implants.

Concerns also have been raised about whether general dentists who adopt mini implants receive sufficient implant training. Though mini-implant companies provide weekend training sessions, such instruction falls short of what dentists must know before performing implant treatment for their patients.

“Dentists need to be well versed in implant dentistry before using mini implants. There are many factors that determine if implant treatment is going to be successful.  If you want to practice implant dentistry, there are no shortcuts for gaining the necessary knowledge and training.”

Indications for mini implants

Mini implants have been used by the general dental profession for denture stabilisation. Some dentists are using mini implants to support crowns and bridges. This use is not currently recommended. Traditional implants have been shown to produce outstanding long term stable results when used to replace a wide a range of dental situations.

Concerns about inadequate research      Italian dental researcher and practitioner Matteo Chiapasco, MD, has adopted a more conservative view as to the use of mini implants stressing there is inadequate scientific literature supporting long-term use of mini implants and no well-defined protocols to determine clinical situations for which they should be indicated.  

“Adopting any procedure without sufficient research would bring us away from practicing evidence-based dentistry and back to the ’70s when decisions were made from clinical experimentation and when implant dentistry was considered quackery”

Mini-implants aren’t designed to support normal-size crowns for single-tooth implants or full arch bridges. The biomechanics associated with these types of reconstructions often lead to premature failure and bone loss. The chewing force applied from a crown could overwhelm a mini implant and put way too much pressure on the bone.

The use of mini implants should be limited to a few clinical indications ….

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