News & Press
John C. Chao, D.D.S., M.A.G.D
Faculty, USC School of Dentistry
New Denture Technology: Instant Mini-Implants
It is estimated that one in five adults wear one denture, and one-half of adults over 55 are denture wearers. Unless anchored to implants, dentures are only about 10 percent as efficient as natural teeth. The inability to masticate food properly may negatively impact the choice of food. Hence, it has been opined that many denture wearers may be nutritionally compromised. Recent information released by the Center For Disease Control (CDC) appears to confirm this point of view.
Citing two recent studies, the CDC reports that persons who had lost a substantial number of teeth are more likely to be obese than those with more teeth (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC, August 6, 2005). Additionally, those with substantial tooth loss tend to have a decreased intake of fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, biochemical levels of important nutrients were substantially lower. Therefore, it appears that tooth loss does not lead to weight loss.
Dentures anchored by implants alleviate significantly the problems encountered by denture wearers. In a recent study conducted with groups of middle aged and senior adults, implant patients were 36% more satisfied with their dentures than those without implants. Implant patients reported higher levels of comfort, ability to speak, esthetics, ease of cleaning and ease of chewing. However, implants have been a costly and time consuming procedure.
A relatively new technology, called instant mini-implants, offers a minimally invasive method to secure dentures at a fraction of the cost of traditional implants. It is done in only one appointment. Mini-implants are placed without incisions or sutures. There is also no need to replace or improve existing serviceable dentures. Much like a snap-on button mechanism, the implant fits into a metallic button hole (implant housing) processed into the underside of the denture. The denture is snapped into place and the patient can immediately have lunch or bite into an apple. Generally minimal discomfort is encountered. Initially some patients may even experience difficulty in snapping of the denture. Some patients say it's a good problem to have.
If you or your loved ones believe that mini-implants might help, do not hesitate to consult with your dentist. Mini-implants just might be the answer to better dentures, better nutrition and better health.