The placement procedure for mini implants is quite different from that of traditional implants. They can be placed and loaded in a one-day appointment with a general dentist who is certified in the procedure. In a typical denture stabilization procedure, four mini implants are placed in the lower mandible. With the assistance of diagnostic imaging tools, the dentist marks the proper locations for the implants on the patient’s ridge, and then uses a pilot drill to create a small hole in the tissue. The implants are then inserted into the pilot holes and tightened into place with a series of drivers and wrenches. This minimally invasive procedure is a stark contrast to the procedure for traditional implants, which involves cutting a flap in the tissue and requires significant healing time before loading.
Once the implants are placed, the patient’s denture is fitted with metal housings that allow it to snap onto the o-ball shaped heads of the mini implants. In some cases a new denture is fabricated for this procedure, but it is also possible to retrofit the patient’s existing denture if it is in good condition. After the denture is fitted with the housings, the patient is instructed on proper care and sent home. In just one day, it is possible for patients to experience a dramatic change in denture retention.
As might be inferred from this description of the procedure, mini dental implants are quite different from traditional implants, and can help address many of the hurdles that patients face when they consider implant treatment. Because a general dentist places them in a minimally invasive procedure, mini implants are significantly more affordable than standard-diameter implants. As mentioned, in some cases the patient’s existing denture can be used, which adds to the affordability.
While many edentulous patients do not have adequate bone levels for standard implants, the bone requirements for mini implants are significantly lower. Additionally, patients who are turned off by the time required for traditional implants are often very excited to hear that mini implants often can be placed and loaded in just one day.