How Long Do Mini Dental Implants Last?

Mini Dental Implants: How Long Do Mini Dental Implants Last?

Mini dental implants are, in fact, a smaller version of the standard implants used to repair dentures and (less often) small fixed bridges.
It is important to understand that mini dental implants are not an alternative to standard implants. Let's see what this technology looks like, how prostheses are installed on mini-implants, and how practical and durable these prostheses are.

Key Points
How mini dental implants look like
The main advantages of technology
How Long Do Mini Dental Implants Last?
Types of mini-implants and rules for choosing between them
Most famous manufacturers and brands of mini implants
Standard implantation procedure
Fixed prostheses using mini-implants
Using technology to repair an old prosthesis
Important points to pay attention to
Possible alternatives to mini implants

How mini dental implants look like

Externally, mini dental implants are somewhat similar to conventional implants, but have a significantly smaller diameter. The standard diameter of the thread is 1.8-2.4mm, which makes their introduction into the bone less traumatic and the installation as a whole is much faster - it's like screwing a self-tapping screw into the bone (the lower part with the thread is screwed into the bone, and then the prosthesis is attached to the upper prosthesis).

Depending on the type and shape of the abutment, all designs differ both in the area of their application and in durability, versatility and, therefore, price.

Mini dental implants are most often used to secure removable dentures. Depending on the size of the prosthesis itself, a different number of implants can be installed in the jawbone, to which a single prosthesis is then attached. This allows a rigid fixation of the prosthesis itself, its immobility during meals and conversations and, above all, the general comfort of wearing. At the same time, the prosthesis itself can be removed and installed on the implants several times, and when using certain types of abutments, an unlimited number of times.

It is also possible to install fixed bridges on mini dental implants. This design is much less reliable than it, fixed on conventional implants, but in some cases it has no alternative. For example, if the alveolar process in the lower jaw is very thin for standard implants and the patient cannot perform a bone graft to dilate the bone for some reason.

In some cases, mini dental implants are used in orthodontics as levers fixed rigidly in the bone for further correction of the position of the teeth. However, such an application occurs even less frequently than the installation of fixed bridges.

The main advantages of technology

One of the main advantages of mini dental implants is the low invasiveness of the operation to install them. In addition, during implantation, the bone in which the implants are fixed and the gum, which must be excised for this, are less damaged.

As a result, all tissues heal faster after surgery, and cases of rejection of mini dental implants are rarer than cases of rejection of conventional dental implants.

Due to the high healing speed, the installation operation of mini dental implants is faster and in some cases it is possible to implant and install ready-made prostheses on implants in one. only procedure.

Before screwing the implant into the bone, a hole is drilled ...
Placement of mini implants on the lower jaw
At the same time, the prosthesis itself is very firmly attached to the implants - this is another important advantage of this version of the prosthesis. Due to the rigid fixation, it becomes possible to reduce the size of the plastic base of the prosthesis, making it less bulky and almost invisible to the patient (there will be no gag reflex, changes in diction and decrease in taste sensations).

Mini dental implants also avoid bone grafting - an expensive, complex and large-scale operation.
Therefore, in the event that it is not possible to install conventional implants and removable prostheses are unavoidable, mini-implants allow the use of removable prostheses that are more comfortable for the patient and at the same time almost invisible for the patient. others.

In addition, the installation of mini dental implants costs much less than traditional implantation. For many patients, this is a deciding factor, and it is often at the expense of lower cost that people choose removable dentures over mini-implants.

How Long Do Mini Dental Implants Last?

in many cases, a modern dental implant is able to reliably last until the end of its life, and at least not less than the service life declared by the manufacturer. However, if all goes well, it depends on a number of conditions, the keys of which are:

The professionalism of the implantologist and the correct installation of the implant;
the professionalism of the orthopedic surgeon who takes part in the manufacture of the prosthesis (the correct load on the implants from the side of the prosthesis, its exact fit to the gums and implants is very important).

High quality of the implant (today, by the way, there are Chinese dental implants, the quality of which is not always predictable);
Adequate oral hygiene and care of implant prostheses by the patient himself;

General health of the patient.
Implantologists note that many patients, after a complete implant transplant and the installation of permanent prostheses, unfortunately forget about hygiene and regular preventive examinations, believing that artificial teeth, unlike natural teeth, are not attacked by bacteria - they say they are artificial, and therefore "Inedible" for bacteria.

Yes, cavities do not form on metal, plastic and ceramic crowns, but unwanted dental deposits can form. In addition, artificial teeth are surrounded by living tissue, the inflammation and damage of which, especially due to the unremoved time of dental deposits, can lead to a reduction in the life of the implant and the need to remove it. with the crown.

Here are some helpful tips that can help you dramatically increase the chances of a dental implant having a maximum lifespan - until the end of a person's life or at least 10-20 years:

Regular improvement in oral hygiene.
In the morning and in the evening - brushing and gluing, it is also advisable to use irrigators or special interdental (interdental) brushes. After eating - remove food debris and generally do not recommend using dental floss, as this can damage the lining and denture. It is better to use an irrigator. Particular attention is paid to the gums, their inflammation should not be tolerated;

Quitting smoking - this negatively affects the condition of the mucous membranes of the oral cavity, which, in turn, carries a risk of metabolic disturbances in the tissues around the implant and its rejection;

Limit the load on the implant and the prosthesis (do not bite the nuts, do not open the bottle with your teeth);

1-2 times a year it is necessary to remove dental deposits - plaque and stones, as they can cause inflammation of the gums; It goes without saying that the face and jaw must be protected in all ways against injury;

At least once a year - preventive examinations at the dentist to assess the condition of the dentofacial system. Sometimes such examinations allow you to timely identify the emerging problem and not take it to the extreme.

Types of mini dental implants and rules for choosing between them

Mini dental implants are classified according to several parameters, but the most important of these is the type of abutment - the part of the implant that protrudes above the lining and onto which the prosthesis or crown is then placed. fixed.

The pillar can be fixed and removable. In the first case, the entire implant is a single, non-separable structure, in the second it is a prefabricated unit in which the threaded element roots in the bone over time, and the pillar can be replaced as it wears out. In addition, such a replacement will not require excising the gums and twisting the piece with a bone thread.

Typically, removable dentures use fixings for the spherical abutments. Due to the constant friction between the fixation sleeve in the prosthesis and the abutment itself under load during chewing, the abutment surface wears on average for 2-3 years. In this case, at first some mobility of the prosthesis appears, which eventually begins to interfere with the person, and then the prosthesis may even begin to skip implants.

Over time, due to the wear of the fasteners, the prosthesis can acquire some mobility and even jump off abutments.

Non-removable abutments from some manufacturers are coated with titanium nitride on the top, which to a certain extent slows down their wear and increases their service life. However, this decision is also temporary - these abutments are also erased, and therefore the implants must be changed with them.

Since replacing the implant in its complexity (and cost) is similar to installing a new implant, no one would want to start such a procedure again. Additionally, due to age-related thinning of the bone, the patient may not be able to replace the implant at all over time, or the new one will not be secured reliably.

Therefore, it is generally recommended to choose mini dental implants with removable abutments. They are more expensive, but they ensure that it is no longer necessary to remove the threaded part of the bone.

Removable abutments can in turn be of two types:
Traditional spherical - less durable and requiring more frequent replacement. In the prosthesis for such abutments, spherical nests are made in which there are metal locks with a silicone gasket. When the prosthesis is placed on implants, the spherical abutment penetrates the silicone matrix and attaches to it. Placed on several implants, the prosthesis is fixed there rigidly;

Equatorial abutments with locating technology ® , thus eliminating the problem of wear - these abutments do not have to be changed at all. They have a flat horizontal top surface and rounded edges, and the silicone gasket can be worn even at an angle. This allows you to place the prosthesis safely, even on implants whose axes are not parallel and are located at an angle of up to 40 ° to each other. Dentures on such implants, although they require maintenance by a dentist, must be performed less frequently than dentures on spherical implants.

It is also useful to read: Types of modern dental implants and standard prices for this procedure Mini dental implants vary in cost, and the patient can choose the option that will be optimal for him by the combination of price and convenience.

Most famous manufacturers and brands of mini implants

The choice of manufacturers of mini-implants is narrower than that of manufacturers of conventional implants, because not all brands offer such a range of products, in addition, different brands specialize in implants with removable and non-removable heads.

Since 2019, the following brands are the most used in dental clinics:
Osstem (South Korea);
Roott (Switzerland);
Alpha BIO (Israel);
Straumann (Switzerland).
Straumann Mini Implant
Straumann mini implant (2.4 mm)

Statistically, clinics give some priority to Osstem and Roott products, with implants from the leading manufacturer more often used for removable prostheses and Roott products for the installation of fixed bridges.

Now let's take a closer look at implants from all four brands.
Korean Osstem Mini Implants are available with non-removable abutments in the MS range - they are ideal for installation in narrow parts of the jawbone to firmly secure the removable prosthesis. There are three types of products in this line:

Implants for fixation on a narrow bone, usually in the area of the lower incisors;
Implants designed specifically for the fixation of removable prostheses;
Implants for fitting provisional prostheses.
According to the combination of price and quality, Osstem mini-implants today are considered optimal, which corresponds to the manufacturer's pricing policy (“premium category products at the price of economy-class systems”).

Alpha BIO products are widely used in mid-priced clinics due to their relatively low prices and proven reliability. The company produces two types of mini dental implants:

ARRP with fixed pillars. They are often used for operations with immediate prostheses, usually in the area of the upper lateral incisors and all incisors of the lower jaw, where the alveolar ridge is quite narrow;
ARRC with removable spherical abutments. Most often, these mini dental implants are used to install removable dentures.

Swiss Straumanns are considered the most expensive today and their price corresponds to high quality. According to statistics of implantologists, Straumann serves on average longer than analogues from other manufacturers, regardless of the type of prosthesis.

In fact, Straumann does not have a separate line of mini dental implants, but the manufacturer's thinnest implants with a diameter of 3.3mm are used specifically for the fixation of removable prostheses. In addition, these implants are made without an abutment and are usually combined with the Locator Fixation System for maximum reliability and versatility.

Likewise, at Roott, the thinnest implants with a diameter of 3.5mm are not assigned to the mini-implant line, but doctors use them in this quality. They are quite long and are most often installed in the basal, the least sensitive to atrophy of the bony parts. Due to their shape, they are fixed bicortically in the bone, which further increases the rigidity of their fixation. As a result, they can be installed with fixed bridges, and this design is no less reliable than when using conventional implants.

When using Roott, a fixed bridge can be installed 3 days after the operation, but the area of such application is limited to situations where there is no at least 2 teeth in a row. For immediate prostheses, a lighter metal-plastic prosthesis is first made, which is replaced with a ceramic or cermet within 1-3 years after the operation.

As a rule, the choice of an implant is made by a doctor mainly on the basis of medical criteria - the width of the alveolar ridge, the location of the prosthesis and the number of crowns. The patient chooses implants only if necessary, save a lot on surgery.

Standard implantation procedure

To install mini dental implants, all you have to do is make a hole in the mucosa down to the bone in the chosen places. Slight bleeding that begins after a puncture does not interfere with other manipulations.

The installation of mini dental implants is less traumatic than the installation of conventional implants.
Through the prepared holes, a hole is then drilled into the bone into which the implant is screwed in. In this case, the hole is made of a diameter smaller than the diameter of the thread of the implant, and the thread itself during placement not only rigidly fixes the implant, but also tightens the bone itself. Thanks to this, the mini-implant can be immediately loaded with a prosthesis.

The procedure for installing a mini-implant takes 5-10 minutes and is performed under local anesthesia. At the same time, the patient does not experience any pain or unpleasant sensations, therefore, for the most part, people respond well to the placement of such implants.

Install a removable prosthesis
In the ordinary case, the prosthesis is installed a few days after implantation. The impressions are taken immediately after fixation of the implants and the technique is transmitted to the laboratory.

Sometimes, in agreement with the doctor, it is possible to make an impression before placing the implants, so that the prosthesis is ready for the procedure and the doctor installs it immediately after implantation. However, in this case, the position of the implants will have to be "personalized" to fit the nests in the prosthesis and, in rare cases, inconsistencies are possible.

Usually the prosthesis is performed after the installation of mini dental implants
And it looks like the end result of dentures
Likewise, it is possible to install an existing prosthesis on a mini-implant if the prosthesis itself is in good condition and performed less than 2-3 years ago. A fixing system is integrated there before the operation, and it is installed directly on the pillars. After that, the patient can remove and put on the prosthesis to perform hygienic procedures.

Fixation of the prosthesis: possible methods

Removable dentures can be attached to mini dental implants in two ways: using silicone matrices (attachments) and without them. In the first case, the load during chewing will be somehow distributed between the implants (and therefore the bone in which they are fixed) and the soft tissues. In the second case, the implant will not be loaded at all, and all the pressure will be distributed only along the gum line, but at the same time the prostheses themselves will be sufficiently firmly fixed to avoid any mobility during chewing. or conversation.

Immediately after implantation, the doctor can fix the prosthesis in one way, and then after the complete transplant of the implant, change it.
Mini dental implants allow you to securely fix the prosthesis in the oral cavity and not be afraid of it falling during a conversation.

For example, on the upper jaw with a sufficiently soft bone, a prosthesis is usually installed without attachments for a certain time (from several weeks to several months), so that the graft is carried out without loads and possible micro-displacements of the implants. After this period, the doctor removes the prosthesis, installs silicone matrices in the recesses and placement, then already loads the implant.

Depending on the type of fixators on the prosthesis, to remove them you need to apply a force of 400 grams to 2 kg - this is enough so that the prosthesis does not lift when chewing viscous food, but not so much that it there are difficulties during the withdrawal of the patient, including and an elderly person.

Fixed prostheses using mini-implants
Fixed prostheses on mini dental implants are usually installed temporarily as part of longer and larger procedures. The mini-implant cannot hold a separate crown and bear a full chewing load due to the small contact area of the root part with the bone and, therefore, insufficiently strong fixation.

If this rule is violated, and an independent crown is installed on the mini-implant, then with active chewing, the bone gradually atrophies at the point of contact with the wire, and the implant falls out. It will be impossible to install it in the same place due to the large diameter of the hole in the bone, and it will be impossible to place a larger diameter implant here for the same reason that it was not originally installed in the bone. location of the mini-implant.

For the same reason, installing a bridge over a mini-implant is undesirable - even when the load is distributed over an implant 2-4, it is still too great for structures of this diameter.

The placement of a bridge on mini-implants is only carried out in rare cases.
Practice shows that when several fixed mini dental implants are installed on several mini-implants, prolapse occurs on average after 1.5 to 3 years, maximum after 5 years.

The Roott (3.5mm diameter) and Straumann (3.3mm diameter) implants are exceptions to this statistic. These models which are used as mini dental implants are manufactured and promoted by the manufacturers themselves as standard implants of normal size to the lower limit of the thread diameter and, in fact, are such (the normal range of diameters of the mini-implants, recall - 1.8-2, 4 mm). And as standard products they can be used for fixed prostheses, but always taking into account the specifics of a particular case: the place of their installation, the bone characteristics, the individual characteristics of the jaw and the number of teeth. missing. When installed on such implants, fixed "bridges" normally last up to 5-6 years, and sometimes longer.

Using technology to repair an old prosthesis

For fixation on mini dental implants, an old prosthesis can be used if it is not yet very worn and made with high quality. It is believed that 2-3 year old acrylic dentures with slight deterioration are suitable for fixation. At the same time, preparing and fixing an old prosthesis costs much less than a new prosthesis and takes 2-3 days.

On mini dental implants, you can also attach an old acrylic prosthesis, after having modified it.
To modify the old prosthesis, deepenings for the abutments of implants already installed are carried out there strictly according to their projection on a plastic base, silicone fasteners are then installed in these recesses, and abutments are inserted there, rigidly fixing the prosthesis.

This technology is good, on the one hand, for its low cost, and on the other hand, the use of a prosthesis, to which the patient is already accustomed. But it also has drawbacks. For example, a prosthesis that is initially created "for implants" generally has a narrower and less visible base. This is especially true for the upper jaw: a prosthesis attached to implants should not obstruct the entire sky.

Important points to pay attention to

As mentioned previously, mini dental implants are generally not intended for the placement of fixed prostheses (crowns, "bridges"). Sometimes a basal implantation based on Roott implants is possible which is a kind of transition from mini implants to classic designs.

Normally, mini dental implants should be considered as a way to repair dentures if they get out of place and fall off during talking and chewing. Variants of their use with heavy loads are almost always undesirable or short-lived.

In addition, the more mini dental implants installed, the stronger the structure will be. With a small number of implants, the bone at the point of contact with the wire quickly atrophies due to overload, and sooner or later the whole system becomes loose and falls out.

The more implants installed, the more securely the prosthesis will be fixed and the more evenly the masticatory load will be distributed.

Trying to secure the prosthesis to the minimum number of implants to save money is not the best option: you will have to change and reinstall the system relatively quickly, which will ultimately be much more expensive than initially installing the desired number. (recommended) mini dental implants.

The recommended minimum number of mini-implants under the prosthesis is 4 units. If the prosthesis is large and massive, there may be more mini dental implants.

If it is possible to choose, priority should be given to equator-type removable abutment implants, if they cannot be installed, to spherical removable abutment implants, and only if they cannot be delivered, consider fixed abutment implants.

Possible alternatives to mini implants

The mini dental implants themselves are an alternative to conventional large-sized implants. In all cases where mini-implants are used, the design based on conventional implants will be more reliable. In addition, the minimum set of four mini-implants may well be replaced by two or three analogs of normal size, and the risks of bone atrophy in the classic version will be much lower.

Therefore, if possible, it is better to install conventional implants. And it is only if they cannot be delivered that the use of mini-implants can be considered taking into account their specificities.

Den Tim

Practicing Dentistry for 20 years