By Gordon J. Christensen, DDS, MSD, PhD
Small-diameter implants have been used as support for crowns and fixed and removable prostheses for more than 14 years. They were “cleared by FDA” in 1997 for long-term use. After 10 years of small-diameter (up to 2.9 mm in diameter) implant use, the following points help to ensure mini implant success:
1. Make sure bone quality is adequate. Screwing the mini implant into the bone should require 30 NCm or more of torque on insertion.
2. Make sure bone quantity is adequate. The longer the implant, the better — to a point. The average popular length is about 13 mm. Shorter implants have more questionable service potential.
3. Observe occlusion carefully. Approximately one-third of the population suffers bruxism or clenching; these people are not good mini candidates.
4. Do not leave more than 2 mm of soft tissue coronal to the bone.
5. Place the mini as far into the bone as possible, still leaving space for the abutment.
6. Place minis parallel to one another! More than 15% of non-parallelism is negative.
Vol. 15 Issue 5
Dr. Gordon Christensen comments: The above comments are my observations related to success of mini implants. The international literature shows 91% to 97% success at five years.
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Dr. Gordon Christensen is a practicing prosthodontist in Provo, Utah, and a Diplomate for the American Board of Prosthodontics. He is the founder and director of Practical Clinical Courses, an international continuing education organization initiated in 1981 for dental professionals. Dr. Christensen is a cofounder (with his wife, Rella) and senior consultant of CLINICIANS REPORT (formerly Clinical Research Associates), which has conducted research in all areas of dentistry since 1976. Dr. Christensen is an adjunct professor for Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.