I recently made a new set of dentures for a very sharp lady of 85 years. But she had a very resorbed lower arch and consequently had a lot of trouble keeping her lower denture in place. It would have been too much of a physical strain for her to have conventional implants placed. So we elected to place two mini-implants. The mini-implant or SDI (small-diameter implant) is an alternative to the conventional implant for patients who cannot tolerate surgery for conventional implants or who may have other physical or financial limitations. This particular lady did very well with the SDI placement and is enjoying the increased stability that the implant attachments now add to her lower denture.
Conventional diameter implants received FDA clearance in the late 1970’s and are now considered a routine part of modern dentistry. The SDI only received FDA clearance for long-term use in 1997. This was just 12 years ago so the SDI is still somewhat controversial. Nevertheless, research shows that the SDI’s are more than 90% successful. If the situation is appropriate and the implant is carefully placed, I believe that it can be a great service to the patient. In my East Setauket office the SDI is most often used to support a lower denture for people without any lower teeth.