Mini-implants are implants that are smaller or thinner than a traditional implant. A traditional implant begins at 3mm in diameter and goes up from there. Research shows the three millimetres is the thinnest diameter of an implant that can be placed in the jaw and have long-term success. So why are mini-implants used?
It’s important to understand that mini-implants are meant to be used for temporary measures. Mini-implants are used in orthodontics to assist with braces, where a mini-implant could be placed for anchorage to help shift teeth. They are also sometimes placed as a temporary measure to restore a missing tooth in cases where a traditional implant cannot be placed immediately. In both cases, the mini-implant is not designed to last for life, and if not removed after the treatment is completed, will eventually become loose and fall out.
You may see mini-implants advertised as a cheaper alternative to traditional implant treatment. While it’s true that mini-implants cost less than traditional implants, they are, by no means, an alternative. Dr. Helen has seen cases of mini-implants being placed overseas, sometimes without the patient realising that a mini-implant has been used, and failing once the patient returns home.
The cost of an implant isn’t cheap, but they are designed to last with proper maintenance. Thicker implants can withstand the forces of chewing and grinding for patients who suffer with bruxism, but mini-implants can’t which is why they inevitably fail. When considering the cost of implant treatment, it’s always important to consider not just the cost of the initial surgery, but the cost over the long-term. Traditional implants are well-researched with very high success rates. There is no alternative better for restoring a missing tooth than traditional implant treatment.