I wrote this Blog Post in another forum:
I have spent hours and hours researching the cost/benefit relation of Mini Dental Implants (MDI's) as opposed to Standard Implants for the SOLE PURPOSE of denture stabilization. The following is my opinion only based on internet research and discussions directly with my Dentist. While there are many implant products on the market, I choose to focus on the the 3M ESPE MDI System. First, it is the one I plan on getting in March and the system that is offered by my Dentist and second it appears to be the market leader and has been on the market for a relatively long time. Hopefully this information and the attached files will assist others as they look for more information on this topic.
Cost for MDI's
Initially I was quoted a price of $749/implant by my Dentist, but they had a 25% off MDI's Coupon on their Web Site which would have brought the price/implant down to $562/implant. I don't have Dental Insurance and most Dental Insurance is capped at $1,500/year and most dental insurance is pretty much worthless in this area anyway. My Dentist's Web Site said they would price match, so I took the local Affordable Dentures Price List into their office which listed the cost for MDI's as $425. My Dentist agreed to this price based on their price match policy. So the cost to do my lower Denture will be $1,700 (4 x $425) and the cost for the doing the upper would be $2,550 (6 x $425). Total cost = $4250
Lesson: Be a smart and informed consumer. A little time spent researching options can pay off in big savings for you.
Mandibular Denture Stabilization (The Lower One)
Generally four (4) MDI's are used to stabilize the lower denture. From what I learned this number is less than the six (6) used to stabilize the upper denture because because the bone structure is usually more dense in the lower jaw and there is better "osseointegration" (fancy word for the bone healing and holding onto the implant) in this region.
Some Dentists will only perform this procedure on the lower jaw. This seems to be a personal preference and is not based on published manufacturer criteria. Some people elect to have only the lower denture stabilized since it is often the "problem denture" for stabilization and they are ok with their uppers. This is entirely a personal preference.
Maxillary Denture Stabilization (The Upper One)
As previously stated, six (6) MDI's are used to stabilize the upper denture. From what I read, 3M advises a healing period of 4-6 months to allow for "osseointegration" of the implant into the bone structure of the upper jaw. Manufacturer protocol would therefor NOT advise immediate loading or integration of the denture until after this healing process is complete or at least substantially complete. I was actually a little surprised when I saw this because there are quite a few Dental Ads out there stating you can EAT A STEAK THE SAME DAY or IN A FEW DAYS after having implants placed.
My Dentist's Approach
My dentist stated she like to wait for around 3 months until loading either the upper or lower MDI's and that this gives time for the "osseointegration" process to be substantially complete. This would seem to be a good, CONSERVATIVE approach that SHOULD lead to a lower failure rate down the road. I want it now, but all good things take time!
Standard Implants - (My Opinion)
I will not argue that Standard Implants can take more force, but they seem to be OVERKILL for denture stabilization. Stabilizing a denture is far different the forces experienced on a Crown or Bridge. It seems many Dentists stick with what they know, are slow to adapt to change and promote a lot of false or confusing information regarding MDI's. Standard Implants have been the mainstay of dental implants for 50 years and are a "Safe Option" for them. This is no different than other professions and the process of adaption to change. Eventually (and it can even be argued it is now) I predict MDI's will be the universally accepted standard for Denture Stabilization due to their advantages in ease of placement and cost.