I have patients come into our Shelby Township Dental Office asking advice on whether to have mini implants or standard sized implants placed.  This is a fairly common question I get and want to give some information which describes their commonalities and their differences.   Generally, I would have to answer  that the basic differences in them is the flexibility and what they are going to be used for.

Dental implants are made of titanium, a metal that is completely compatible with the body.  The human  body does not have a reaction to this metal.  Very few metals are bio-compatible which means that they do not create an immune response in the body.  This is what has made implants successful over the past 40 years or so.

  • The standard dental implant is usually made of 2 pieces and is greater than 3 mm in diameter   The standard dental implant has an external screw that allows it to be screwed into the bone and an internal thread which allows different components to be torqued down into the dental implant.    The inside threads of the standard sized implant allows different  components to be attached to them.

The components or abutments are used to:

  • replace missing teeth or a single tooth.
  • Hold  removable dentures in place so they can be snapped on and off. These abutments are like “snaps” and because they are screwed into the dental implant they can have a stronger hold than the mini dental implants

There are many different manufactures of these standard  dental implants that have their own shape and design.  The good news is that they all work very well with a over a 95% chance of success.

  • Mini dental implants are a solid one piece screw that is less than 3 mm in diameter with a specialized ball shaped end that sticks out of the jaw bone.  Inside of the denture is a rubber O ring that fits around this ball.  When the denture is placed over the ball the rubber O ring keeps the denture retained.


  • Because the mini dental implant is only 3 mm in diameter it needs to be 1 piece for strength. The 2 piece standard dental implants have enough diameter so that an internal thread can be placed inside of the top of the dental implant and keep it strong enough.  When comparing the two systems it is necessary to use four mini dental implants to hold a lower denture in place whereas two standard implants would be comparable.
  • The cost of a standard implant is about 50% more because of the fact that there are more components and because the surgery is a little more advanced.
  • Mini dental implants are good for those who are in poor health because no flap of gum tissue needs to be made for these.  Because no flap is needed it also becomes more challenging because the bone in these patients is usually very thin and it is hard to determine where the ridge of bone is.
  • Because the standard sized  dental implant has individual components screwed into them the become more universal and can be used for different purposes.

I can do and have done both mini dental implants and standard dental implants in my Macomb County Dental office but I prefer the placement of standard dental implants if there is enough bone because it is more predictable to use in my hands.

About The Author

Dr. Robert Antolak, DDS graduated from the University of Michigan in 1987 with his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. He is dedicated to providing the highest quality and appropriate cosmetic, sedation and general dentistry in the most comfortable and gentle way possible. Because being a dentist has been a lifelong dream, Dr. Antolak has a passion for the profession. He enjoys helping people feel better about their smiles and therefore their self-image with dental implant and cosmetic dentistry. His Dental Practice is located in Shelby Township, Michigan.  For more information visit The Gentle Dentist.