Are mini dental implants any good?
May 6, 2011 8:00 AM   Subscribe

What are the benefits and drawbacks of mini-dental implants vs. traditional implants. I'd love to hear your experience with mini-implants!

I'm in the process of getting long-overdue dental work taken care of in a mouth that's always been problematic. I have some farily serious orthodontic issues that should have been addressed years ago, so my bite is very odd, with limited chewing surface in the back.

The current issue is that I had two back lower teeth extracted and will most likely replace them with implants some time in the near future. My current dentist has recommended mini-implants, but I have some concerns as there do not seem to be any long-range studies demonstrating their efficacy for this sort of thing. Would they stay in place even with an uneven bite?

The final complication is that I am in my late 30's and planning to try to have a second child in the next year, if possible. I know that the process of having traditional implants placed takes months and I'm concerned about the time line. Either having to put off surgery and risk bone loss or carry the risks of dental procedures working around a pregnancy.

Any insights would be most appreciated!
posted by goggie to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
My experience is that mini-implants are a temporary service. When the treatment using mini-implants is finished, they can be "unscrewed." That means no osseo-integration.

That can't normally be done with a traditional implant after it has healed successfully.
posted by Cuspidx at 8:45 AM on May 6, 2011

Would they ever serve as a long-term alternative to the traditional? My dentist was really giving a strong sales pitch for them, but in the process acknowledged he's paid to give seminars about them as well. It made me a little uncomfortable that he didn't seem to want to discuss the traditional implant other than to tell me it costs so much more and takes so much longer.
posted by goggie at 1:48 PM on May 6, 2011

I'm a bit puzzled as to what you mean by implants, I have what I always thought was an "implant", a replacement tooth mounted on a tiny metal post, which looks just like my other teeth, save for the lack of fillings. It certainly did not take months though, I think it was about 2 weeks. The second visit was very quick.

As far as cost goes, I called around and found there was quite a difference in costs from different dentists.

If that sounds at all similar to what you are looking to have done, perhaps you should get a second opinion from a dentist who does not have a potential financial bias towards using one particular alternative.

You are not required to stay with a dentist who you don't feel comfortable with.
posted by yohko at 6:12 PM on May 6, 2011

Speaking only in generalizations, a "mini-implant" is not a long term alternative.

An ideal implant (for me) to replace a molar has a length of at least 10mm and a diameter of 4.8mm.

Sometimes people don't have adequate bone volume. This may be why you were pushed into an alternative direction.
posted by Cuspidx at 7:25 PM on May 6, 2011

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