Mini Dental Implants: Love Them or Hate Them

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In this survey, we asked dentists about dental implants. Two out of three dentists report that they are qualified to offer dental implant therapy. The remaining one out of three dentists do not place implants themselves.

While most love standard implants, opinions about mini dental implants are highly varied. “Mini implants have worked very well for my patients,” said one
dentist, while another opined, "Mini implants are worthless."

We asked dentists how often they recommend mini implants, and here’s what they said:

  • Never: 24%
  • Rarely: 21%
  • Sometimes: 27%
  • Frequently: 28%

We also asked dentists to select which statement best describes how they feel about the mini dental implant:

  • Good for a variety of patients: 32%
  • Suitable for denture patients: 19%
  • Only in a few certain cases: 30%
  • Regular implants are always better: 19%

Regular vs. mini

  • “Compared to cars, regular implants are the Mercedes Benz. Mini implants are the little Toyota Echo.” (Oral surgeon)
  • “Mini implants are a good solution for many patients. I think regular implants are better. But for many, minis are the best choice.” (Georgia dentist)

Only for temporary use

  • “Mini implants are good for dentures and specific sites, usually as a transitional situation.” (Florida dentist)
  • “Mini implants are good for provisionals.” (Virginia implantologist)
  • “They are, in my opinion, beneath the standard of care, unless they are used only on a provisional basis.” (Massachusetts dentist)
  • “Good for provisional implants.” (Prosthodontist)

They are a great option

  • “I have done around 20 cases using mini implants under lower dentures. I feel this is one of the best things I have done for my patients and my practice.” (Georgia dentist)
  • “In the correct situation and understanding how to use them, they are a wonderful long-term solution. They cannot be overloaded and removable prosthetics must be tissue borne and implant retained.” (Connecticut dentist)

Mini implants are more likely to fail

  • “Mini implants are good for patients who don't want or can tolerate regular implants, but failure rates are higher with these minis.” (Arizona dentist)
  • "I have placed mini-implants. Too many failures.” (New York dentist)
  • "Mini implants are worthless.” (California dentist)
  • “I did a case with a local specialist, and within 4 months the implants all came out. I looked bad, and the patient left the office. I am not a huge fan of the mini implant.” (Connecticut dentist)
  • “50% success with Maxillary, 85% success with Mandibular anterior.” (California dentist)

The low price is fantastic

  • “There is seldom an occasion anymore when I can't replace traditional implants therapy with minis. I'm so thankful I can now offer a less expensive alternative that still brings a lot of joy to those patients that receive them.” (Arkansas dentist)
  • "They have worked well for me with the right patients. They make implants affordable for many” (Maryland dentist)
  • “Mini implants have worked very well for my patients. Low cost, immediate loading and so far (35) no post-op pain.” (Pennsylvania dentist)

But are the good enough?

  • “Substandard treatment in most cases.” (California periodontist)
  • “Until we get long term data (large numbers over 10-15 years), I am reluctant to use mini implants for conventional restorative cases. If we are asking patients to pay full restorative fees, shouldn't we use one of many systems with a longer track record?” (Ohio oral surgeon)

Knowledge is key

  • “Risks, benefits and alternatives must always be discussed. Ignorance is a curable ailment." (California dental implantologist)
  • “I don't know enough about mini dental implants.” (Texas dentist)

 

Note: Survey sample included 124 respondents.

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