Mini- implants

Mini- implants

Mini- implants are dental implants that are less than 3.0mm in diameter and are in one piece. One of the indications of min-implant is the replacement of a missing lower incisor. The small diameter of the mini – implant is an advantage here due to the lack of space. The lack of mechanical strength of mini-implant is not an issue here as the masticatory load is low in the lower incisor area. However , mini-implant can only be used if there is no need for change in angulation or customization of abutment. This is because mini-implant is in one piece so no customization of abutment is possible.


Mini- implants

What are mini dental implants ?

Mini implants are narrower than standard implants , only 2 to 2.5 mm in diameter. Because of its narrow diameter , its limited surface area and mechanical strength means that its clinical application is limited.


The other distinguishing feature of a mini implant is that it is in one piece. The implant abutment comes attached to the implant body and cannot be removed. The lack of interchangeability of implant abutments means that the implant restorative option is vastly limited clinically.


FAQ for mini dental implants

Mini implants are useful for replacement of very small teeth ,for example lower incisors. Mini implants are also useful for retaining dentures for the elderly.

Another indication of mini-implants is for the retention of loose lower dentures. This is especially useful for  elderly patients with a lot of medical conditions. It offers a quick solution to very loose lower dentures

Because mini implants  are very thin ( 2 to 2.5 mm ), resulting in a lack of strength  to withstand the biting forces of a molar, sometimes a dentist will use 2 to 3 mini implants instead. The result is that it is extremely difficult for a patient to keep them clean. Therefore, for molar replacement , a single regular dental implant  should  suffice.


The x-ray on the left shows 2 mini implants used to replace a single lower molar. The patient had great difficulty  cleaning  between the 2 mini implants. As a result, the crown and the mini implants had to be removed .

One of the main selling point of mini implant  is that its placements are less invasive since most of them are done without opening the gum. However, these are blind surgical procedures and as a result the potential for complications and failures are greatly increased.  The x-ray on the left shows a mini dental implant that was  placed completely out of the jaw bone . The final  result was implant failure with  pain and swelling of the gum and lips.

The ability of an implant to take on biting forces depends on its overall surface area. Since mini implants are very narrow , longer mini implants must be used. However, the use of  longer mini implants greatly increase the  possibility of injuring vital structures.


The x-ray on the left shows a large number of mini implants  that were placed in the lower jaw in order to have adequate strength .


But the long mini implants damaged the lower jaw dental nerve during implant installation. As a result,  the patient suffered  permanent numbness of the lower lip due to the placement of the long mini implants.

The  x-ray on the left shows multiple long mini implants placed in both the upper and lower jaw. The long mini implants in the upper jaw pierced the sinus, resulting in implant  failure and chronic infections of the sinus. The long mini implants  in the lower  jaw injured the lower jaw dental nerve resulting in permanent numbness of the lower lip.

The picture on top shows a fixed bridge retained by multiple mini implants. Note the poor aesthetics and poor oral hygiene . Cleaning is virtually impossible .


Mini implants has two distinct limitations.

1)It has a small  straight  abutment  that is fixed to the implant  body. This results in cost savings but it also places great constraint  on the restorative dentist  when it comes to constructing crowns and bridges on top of them. Regular implants on the other hand  allows many types of  customized abutments of various  sizes ,shapes and angulations   to be used.  This results in better implant retained  crowns and bridges for regular implants as  compared to that for mini implants.
2)Mini implants are much narrower than the neck of natural teeth.  As a result, it is not possible to construct very natural looking implant supported crowns.

Mini implants are  thin and narrow. Frequently, more mini implants need to be placed  in order to have strength. The picture on the left shows 4 mini implants which were installed  to replace 4 lower incisors. Because  too many mini implants were placed  too close to one another, the jaw bone was damaged . As a result, all the 4 mini implants failed and they had to be removed.  If regular implants were used instead , only 2 regular implants would be required to support a  4-unit fixed bridge. By using 2 regular implants, the procedure is simplified and complications can be avoided.