Mini-implants can be extremely problematic, let me give two examples from patients who recently came to Los Algodones. The first one had 10 mini-implants placed on the upper arch and a full reconstruction done to the mouth, unfortunately the procedure came loose in less than a year, logically; the patient was terrified of getting another treatment. Sadly the whole situation was perfectly avoidable, if the dentist had done bone grafting or placed zygomatic implants she wouldn’t have to go through hell and back.
The second case was a gentleman who had mini-implants placed during his childhood, as he reached adolescence the bones kept growing but the implants held in place, the end result was a “successful” procedure yet aesthetically displeasing teeth, in this case, the dentist made the mistake of placing the implants when the patient was too young, of course, as a person grows the bone grows but the mini implants stay in place, since mini-implants are usually made of flexible materials, as the mouth area expanded the implants bent, which led to a crooked dentures. Of course, the patient wanted to fix it, but the only possible solution was a complete removal of the implants, bone regeneration and a full mouth deconstruction, this all could have been prevented with the right diagnosis.
Unfortunately mini-implants are something of a gray area in the world of dentistry, for example, even if many dentists endorse it, the biggest implant manufacturers don’t build them as there isn’t sufficient research data to prove the effectiveness of the procedure, to be quite frank, the manufacturers think that such product may be a liability.
Most professional surgeons who specialize on implant placement don’t work with mini implants for the same reasons as stated above, one could argue that they are being apprehensive to new technology, but in truth most professional endorse new procedures such as All-in-4s since their quality have been backed up once and again by empirical data. The sad truth, is that younger and inexperienced dentists are the ones who often recommend mini implants, drawn by the alleged simplicity and the promise of being cheaper.
Obviously, not every mini-implant procedure has gone awry, in fact, it is quite possible that this new trend may prove useful under certain circumstances, instead of dismissing them outright, I would say that we need more empirical data to understand their pros and cons, it is our responsibility as health professionals to be perfectly sure that our procedures are safe, and they will improve our patient’s quality of life, in the meantime, if you dentist experts recommends a mini-implant I would urge you to look for a second opinion, or at least read a bit about the possible side-effects, as a regular implant will usually provide a better long-term solution.