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Case Study
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Small-Diameter Implants for Optimal Stabilization of Implant-Supported Overdentures

A Case Report

Learning Objectives:
As a result of reviewing this case study, the reader should:  
  • Be able to visualize the process of placing small-diameter implants
  • Know the advantages of utilizing small-diameter implants to achieve optimal aesthetic results for patients. 

Implant-supported overdentures have gained significant acceptance by clinicians and patients, and are gradually becoming the standard of care for treatment of complete edentulism. A variety of protocols for prosthetic fabrication and implant placement have been suggested, and at least for mandibular rehabilitation, the most commonly used protocol relies on placement of two implants in the anterior/canine area. While this protocol may provide appropriate overdenture stabilization for many cases, others may not be successfully treated with only two implants, and additional implants may be required for patient satisfaction. However, anatomical factors may limit the clinician’s ability to place additional implants. Furthermore, financial restrictions may also limit the patient’s ability to have additional implants placed. This article presents an alternative approach aimed to improve stabilization of existing implant-supported overdentures that may overcome these limitations.

Small-diameter implants have a shape and thread design, which allow for an incision-free insertion, and simplified osteotomy preparation protocol. They are a feasible treatment option in cases dictated by a lack of alveolar ridge because of their diameter (2.2 mm or 2.4 mm). They are ideal for placement in limited amounts of bone, and their coronal profiles are attachments aimed at rescuing existing dentures. Finally, because these implants are modeled specifically for overdentures, their cost is reduced to approximately a fourth of the cost of traditional implants, making them affordable for a much larger portion of the patient population. The efficacy of placing SDIs around previously placed conventional implants to help improve long-term retention has not yet been investigated. Additional studies are required to better investigate this treatment approach. 

*Periodontics Resident, Department of Periodontics & Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Related Reading

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