One of the main reasons patients don't move forward with dental implant treatment is lack of bone. This lack of adequate bone can be in the width or height dimensions.
Cone Beam CT scan showing a lower mandibular ridge with severe resorption in both the vertical and horizontal dimensions. The ridge of bone is only 1.2mm wide at the top and stays that way for 9mm until you get to the wider bone near the chin.
In this case we had no choice but to flatten the ridge to make room for the smallest mini dental implant we have (1.8mm wide). Once that was done there was only 11mm of height left to place the mini implant in the lower jaw.
The mouth has a very specialized kind of bone, its called alveolar bone. This alveolar bone is not found anywhere else in the body. Its purpose is to hold the roots of your tooth the the base of the jaws. Once teeth are lost this bone just melts away or is resorbed by the body. If you have a loose or ill fitting denture or partial the constant rubbing and moving will cause this bone loss to accelerate. Even in areas of one missing tooth the alveolar bone melts away. Without a tooth root over time the bone will be lost. The good news is that any dental implant, mini or traditional conventional will help to keep this bone from melting away any further.
This picture shows how substantial bone loss can be from missing lower jaw tooth molars. The ridge of bone is thin and is vertically deficient. Options could be to do a block onlay graft of bone or to consider using mini dental implants. One of the benefits of mini dental implants is that we can sometimes avoid this additional surgical procedure.
So what should you do if there is no bone left for a dental implant? The most elegant solution is to repair the missing bone and gum to gain the height and width that was once there. This requires the experience and high degree of surgical skill of an experienced Oral Surgeon, Periodontist or a well trained General Dentist who does this kind of surgery on a daily basis. We refer this kind of treatment to a highly skilled dentist in our area.
But with every procedure there are some drawbacks. For this kind of bone grafting or repair the potential hazards are: prolonged healing time, additional surgery, additional temporary dentures to fit over the repaired bone while it heals, potential morbidity and expense. There could be additional pain and discomfort or injury to the nerve. Mini Dental Implants are an alternative to consider to bone grafting or bone augmentation. The patient not only saves on the cost of the bone grafting (anywhere from $3000 to $6000) but we can use the mini dental implant almost immediately.
This picture shows how thin a ridge can get. It would be very difficult to place a traditional implant here without doing a surgical bone grafting procedure.
Here we have placed a mini dental implant without any bone augmentation procedures.
Intra Lock Mini Dental Implants in thin bone. Here I used a 2.0mm Intra Lock mini; however just about any mini dental implant would work....other minis I use include OCO Biomedical mini or OCO Biomedical micro, IMTEC MDI, ACE Surgical Secure Mini Prep or Hiossen.
Porcelain Crowns on the top of the mini dental implants cemented in place.
This x-ray shows a 2.0mm wide mini dental implant. Notice how thin the bone is...it is at most 4mm wide. A traditional regular implant would not fit without bone augmentation(repair) surgery. The pink shows where the nerve bundle exits out of the jaw into the gum tissue.