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Forum Category: Implantology

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Small-Diameter Implants and Increasing Access to Care

For more than 30 years, root form implants have been used with success in the treatment of edentulous patients.  Typically, these implants have ranged in size from (approximately) 3.75mm to 4mm in diameter and 14mm+ in length.[1] Grafting procedures are often necessary to accommodate their placement, making implant dentistry beyond the reach of some patients who cannot undergo the requisite ridge augmentation for physical (e.g., those with serious medical problems, using anti-coagulant therapy) or even financial reasons.

Small-diameter implants, referred to by some as "mini-implants", have been a more recent introduction to implant dentistry.  With a diameter of approximately 1.8mm to 3mm, these implants were originally used as transitional support for fixed and removable prostheses while standard-diameter implants osseointegrated.[2,3] While the minis were generally removed at the end of provisionalization, these small-diameter implants achieved the same level of bone-to-implant contact as did conventional implants and thus were approved for long-term use.[3]

Small-diameter implants, as less expensive alternatives to conventional implants, can generally be placed with minimal invasiveness and often loaded immediately. This can significantly increase their utility for patients who are unable to select treatment with conventional-diameter implant--thus removing an important barrier (i.e., cost) to care.[1] Consequently, dentists--and those of you aspiring dental professionals--have the ability to offer implant treatment options to patients who would not be able to pursue implant therapy with standard-diameter implants.

How you envision small-diameter implants meshing with Medicaid patients?  With members of your community who are financially challenged to consider "optimal" therapy? We're looking forward to your thoughts!



  1. Christensen GJ. The small-diameter implant 'revolution'. Pract Proced Aesthet Dent 2007;19(6Suppl):1. 
  2. Froum SJ, Simon HH, Cho SC, et al. Histological evaluation of bone-implant contact of immediately loaded implants after 6 to 27 months. Int J Oral Maxillofac Impl 2005;20(1):54-60. 
  3. Cho SC, Froum S, Tai CH, et al. Immediate loading of narrow-diameter implants with overdentures in severely atrophic mandibles. Pract Proced Aesthet Dent 2007;19(3):167-174. 


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Small-Diameter Implants and Increasing Access to Care

04:26 AM | May 02,2015
The first time I heard of mini-implants I thought it was great, I have mixed thoughts now but I've never thought about it as a solution for the financially challenged patient. I discovered mini-implants while shadowing a dentist my first semester of dental school. Small diameter implants that are placed immediately and can be loaded immediately- This sounds amazing ! I thought it was great due to the longer preparation, surgical and healing time of implants. But, now days away from being in my 3rd year of dental school and completing the implant and other clinical course I have my reservations. Mini- implants were not made as a permanent solution but it was discovered that they osseointegrated well so that is why the use changed but there are still studies to be done regarding loading effects and survival rate. I personally have not read any but when we learn the biomechanics of how implants work, diameter is a huge factor and making it smaller for convenience is not a risk I would take. But, now when discussing the cost factor, since it is a shorter procedure it is less expensive and possibly an option for financially challenged patients. I am not sure even with the reduced cost if this will become optimal therapy because there are limits to what Medicaid would cover and I do not think any sort of implant would fall under that umbrella. Unfortunately, the cheapest option not the preferred or best option will be what Medicaid covers. For those who do not have Medicaid and have the option of paying on their own but not the price of an conventional option, this can definitely be a cheaper and faster option but I have my reservations.

Small-Diameter Implants and Increasing Access to Care

05:52 PM | Aug 09,2012
Excited to get to this in the future!