Dr. Davis is committed to educating denture wearers and their families and friends about mini-implants because he has seen mini-implants drastically improve people’s lives. He is a frequent guest speaker in the community and on television about mini-implant technology and the importance of having dentures done right.
Dr. Davis is available to answer your specific questions, and in the meantime, here are some general questions that are frequently asked, which may help you understand more about mini-implants and what they can do for you.
FAQ’s about Mini-Implants
What are mini-implants?
How are mini-implants placed?
What are the benefits of the mini-implants?
What is the process of getting mini-implants?
How do I know if I’m a good candidate for mini-implants?
How soon can I use them?
How long does it take?
What do they cost?
How successful are they?
Does it hurt to put them in?
Does it hurt after they are placed?
What do you do for very anxious patients?
How secure are the mini-implants?
What problems can occur?
What maintenance is there?
Can they be fit under my existing dentures?
Can they be used on the upper denture?
Why are they so much more successful on the lower than the upper?
Why don’t you put them on the upper?
Can they be used if there are some teeth present?
Can mini-implants be used in place of unsightly clasps?
Q: What are mini-implants?
A. A mini-implant is a titanium screw with a round head that is placed into your jaw and o-rings are placed into your lower denture to snap your denture securely in place. In many cases these implants can be placed and the denture implants snapped into place the same day.
Q: How are mini-implants placed?
A. Placement of the implants is accomplished quickly and easily in a process performed in the dentist’s office with just Novocain or if you prefer, we can use oral conscious sedation to help make you more comfortable. A small hole is placed in your gum and the mini-implants are gently screwed into the bone. The heads of the implants protrude from the gum tissue and provide a strong, solid foundation that your denture will actually SNAP tightly on to and secure itself.
Q: What are the benefits of the mini-implants?
A. The great thing about mini-implants is that they hold the lower denture securely in place, even though they are small, easy to place and painless! New mini-implants require less bone than conventional implants for attachment, so more people are eligible. There is no surgery! The implant just needs a small hole. The procedure takes less than an hour and placing the implant involves very little trauma. In some cases you can attach the denture the same day the implant is placed. A patient’s old loose lower plate can often be retrofitted at the same time that the mini-implants are placed. It is sometimes possible to put mini-implants in your old denture, saving the cost of a new set of dentures. The new mini-implant is now affordable. Our conventional (larger, multi-piece) implants range from $8,000- $20,000. The cost to place four mini-implants totals just over $2000.
Q: What is the process of getting mini-implants?
A. At your initial consultation, you will set the appointment for the mini-implant placement that will be retrofitted into your old dentures or placed prior to making new dentures. If new dentures are being made, it usually takes at least three more visits to make new dentures with mini-implants in the lower denture. The process can be made easy for the patient with non-lingering Novocain that is now available. When you leave you will not be numb. We also make available “sleep dentistry” or oral conscience sedation so you can have a perfect experience without any memory of it.
Q: How do I know if I’m a good candidate for mini-implants?
A. Unless you have had radiation to your jaw, have uncontrolled diabetes or have extreme bone loss, you are probably a good candidate. We have successfully placed implants in people that have lost nearly all of their lower jaw bone. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the best candidates don’t smoke and have healthy gum tissues.
Q: How soon can I use them?
A. The mini-implant can be used immediately. The great thing is that the day the mini-implants are placed, you can often attach the denture the same day. A patient’s old, loose existing plate can often be used.
Q: How long does it take?
A. First, you have an initial consultation, which is at no charge. We explore the treatment options for your specific condition. Then, we set the appointment for the mini-implant procedure. We may be able to place the implants and connect your denture that day. There are occasions when waiting six weeks is advisable.
Q: What do they cost?
A. Mini-implants are highly affordable. Four mini-implants can be placed for under $3000. There may be a reline fee if the denture can not be connected to the implants when they are placed.
Q: How successful are they?
A. Implants are over 90% successful. That means that 10% will have to be removed. There is a $500 charge to replace implants that are lost.
Q: Does it hurt to put them in?
A. Mini-implant placement is a simple one-step procedure. Your gums will not be cut open and no sutures are needed. The process is made easy for you with non-lingering sedation and oral conscious sedation. You will walk out of the office and probably have no pain at all.
Q: Does it hurt after they are placed?
A. When you go home you can resume all of your normal activities. It is infrequent that people need to take even ibuprofen.
Q: What do you do for very anxious patients?
A. We use a unique technique that does not leave your whole jaw numb for hours. This non-lingering Novocain is very pleasing to patients. Also, our staff is highly skilled in helping you feel safe and comfortable. In addition, we offer oral conscious sedation that makes the experience totally comfortable – and you will not remember anything or feel anything that was done in placing the implants.
Q: How secure are the mini-implants?
A. A mini-implant is like putting a screw into a piece of wood. The mini-implants are placed into the jawbone and in a few weeks attach themselves solidly to the bone. Although some people have difficulty removing the lower denture, I haven’t had anyone complain that it is too tight.
Q: What problems can occur?
A. These are mini-implants, they are about 1/3 the size of conventional implants and they can break when they are placed. If one breaks, we simply put another next to the one that broke. Some of the implants get loose and have to be removed. There are times when we will replace lost implants.
Q: What maintenance is there?
A. Periodic follow-up visits will be scheduled to monitor your mini-implants, the fit of your dentures, and the health of your gums. The o-rings will get loose and will need to be replaced because they do wear out. The more often that you remove and replace your dentures the more frequently you will need to come in to the office and have the o-rings replaced.
Q: Can they be fit under my existing dentures?
A. Yes, a patient’s old, loose existing plates can often be used at the same time that mini-implants are placed. If the existing denture is extremely worn, is over 5 years old or has a poor bite, it may be necessary to make new dentures.
Q: Can they be used on the upper denture?
A. Usually the upper denture is more secure than the lower denture. Retention for the upper can often be remedied by being properly fit. The mini-implants are far more successful in the dense lower jaw than in the hollow bone of the upper jaw.
Q: Why are they so much more successful on the lower than the upper?
A. Lower dentures seem to have more problems and are often called ‘floaters’ because they literally seem to float in the mouth. The less the ridge a person has, the greater the problem. The lower can cause such embarrassment that some people don’t even wear them. People become reclusive and restrict their diets. Loose lower dentures make it so difficult and painful to eat that some people actually become malnourished. Mini-implants really solve the problem of lower dentures.
Q: Why don’t you put them on the upper?
A. The bone on the upper is just not as dense as the bone in the lower jaw. There isn’t as much of a problem with the upper floating as the lower plate.
Q: Can they be used if there are some teeth present?
A. Yes, but this is a rare occasion.
Q: Can mini-implants be used in place of unsightly clasps?
A. Yes, it is conceivable but it is not the purpose that the mini implants were designed for.