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Dental Mini-Implants: Surgical Technique Explained


By Jeffrey Jones, DDS

The invention of the mini dental implant has been quite an achievement for cosmetic and restorative dentistry. It has provided long term, good looking, cost-effective replacements for individuals who suffer with broken, missing, or damaged teeth.

Dental implants have been in existence since the early 1970s. As dental technology advanced, dental implants were refined and modified, and in 1999, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved mini dental implants as a safe and permanent option. Today, patients with mini dental implants agree that this option is both safe and effective, and provides fantastic permanent results.

For those who have had their teeth extracted or are planning to do so now, the only way to maintain good oral and dental health is to replace the extracted tooth. Over time, remaining teeth shift and the harmony and balance of the bite is damaged, opening the door to periodontal disease with bone loss. In addition, deformity and melting away can strike the gums and jawbone if a tooth is not replaced using proper procedures.

Many individuals do not bother to replace their missing teeth, delaying the process on purpose, because of the costs involved. However, the longer you wait once your teeth have been removed, the harder it will be to secure an adequate replacement.

Diligent, 17-year research and advancements in technology have proven that mini dental implants are a safe and effective solution for long term replacement of missing teeth in all areas of the mouth.

Minis are considerably less expensive than bigger old-school dental implants. It is not unusual for the “mini plus tooth fee total” to be over thirteen hundred dollars less expensive per tooth than current larger implant, plus tooth fees. This cheaper pricing helps more people afford implant procedures, which are often seen by the public as quite expensive and sometimes even cost prohibitive.

Here is a typical mini-implant procedure story: the patient has an option of sedation. However, the procedure is often so mild that sedation is not needed. After numbing the area, a pre-made plastic guide that has already been fitted to the mouth is put into place. This guide controls the vertical and horizontal positioning of the drill bit. Drilling of a single mini often only takes between 30 to 60 seconds. One of the most common patient comments is that they experience some splashing water. Another common reaction is surprise at how little drilling there is. At this point, the plastic guide is removed and the mini is screwed into place. If there is more than one mini-implant being placed, the procedure is repeated. A post-operative x-ray is always taken to double check everything. That’s it! No sutures are required because no scalpel cuts are done. Many patients only require Advil® or Tylenol® afterwards. Needless to say, the farthest back areas of the mouth can be the most challenging to place and, generally speaking, the lower bone is more dense than the upper bone and therefore drilling may take a brief time longer in more dense bone.

It is important to point out that no dental or medical procedure of any type is 100-percent successful with no side effects. Out of every 100 dental implants of all types placed, five will fail. A small group of people will be disappointed, but it is important to speak to the public in a clear and honest way and just as important for the public to have realistic expectations. Having true integrity is a bedrock principle for all medical and dental professionals.

For more information about mini-implants or to schedule a dental check-up, you may contact Jeffrey Jones, DDS, LLC at 309-454-5830 or  visit or Jeffrey Jones DDS, LLC is located at 305 S. Linden Street in Normal. Dr. Jones is a general dentist and provides state-of-the-art dentistry for all ages.