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Mini Implants For Dentures

George B Gettinger DMD

What Are Mini Dental Implants?

Mini dental implants are ultra-small diameter (l.8 millimeter width), biocompatible titanium alloy implant screws, conceived and designed over 20 years ago by a dentist, Victor I. Sendax, DDS. Dr. Sendax originally created the unique design of this unique dental product as a transitional device to help support fixed bridge replacements for lost teeth. His novel theory was that mini implants could function free standing by themselves or in combination with natural tooth supports and/or larger conventional type dental implants. This was a revolutionary concept in dental science.

Late in l997, Dr. Sendax collaborated about his mini implant theory and design concepts with a colleague, Dr. Ronald A. Bulard. Dr. Bulard had previously formed a dental implant company, IMTEC Corporation, which was at the time manufacturing and marketing standard sized dental implants, abutments, and other dental products. Convinced they were on to something special, Drs. Sendax and Bulard spent countless hours studying and refining Dr. Sendax’s original creative design, resulting in a more efficient top and collar to the mini dental implants. Combining this now re-designed mini implant with Dr. Sendax’s original insertion protocol resulted in a successful breakthrough. Under Dr. Bulard’s direction, IMTEC Corporation began the rather complex and expensive design and manufacturing procedures which ultimately resulted in what is now offered to the dental community under the brand name IMTEC Sendax Mini Dental Implant (mini dental implant). The innovative system and procedure was thereafter formally introduced to the United States dental community at an implant conference in Orlando, Florida in April, l999. It was an instant success and now represents one of the fastest growing segments of the dental product industry.

Is the Mini Dental Implant FDA approved?

Yes. Prior to his preliminary discussions with Dr. Bulard, Dr. Sendax had submitted a formal application to the FDA in Washington, DC seeking permission to market the mini dental implant devices to the general public. After providing satisfactory technical and clinical evidence to that agency that the product was safe for public use and in fact had beneficial attributes, the FDA granted its formal consent to market the Mini Dental Implant device not only as a transitional or temporary dental product, but significantly, as an on-going item. No competitor dental product can make this claim. As stated, IMTEC’s introduction of the Mini Dental Implant to the dental industry and appropriate marketing efforts under a license granted by Dr. Sendax, followed the FDA’s consent to market.

When can Mini Dental Implants be used?

When critically needed for support purposes, and where solid bony adaptation (integration) has clearly occurred, mini implants can function as long-term supporting structures rather than as short-term or medium term devices. In fact, some have been successfully functioning in patients’ jaws for several decades.

What’s the primary and most effective use for Mini Dental Implants?

The most effective use of this unique dental product is stabilization of a lower denture. There are approximately 50,000,000 people in the United States who are “edentulous” (literally meaning lacking teeth) who struggle daily with prosthetic devices. A majority suffer a great deal of discomfort as a result of loose or ill-fitting dentures. Many denture wearers simply withdraw from any type of social engagement as a result of being compelled to wear them. Moreover, it's not uncommon for family members to complain about a denture wearer’s disagreeable breath as a result of food being trapped and decaying under their denture prosthesis. Successful placement of the Mini Dental Implant addresses and solves all of these social and practical problems.

Is the Mini Dental Implant FDA approved?

Yes. Prior to his preliminary discussions with Dr. Bulard, Dr. Sendax had submitted a formal application to the FDA in Washington, DC seeking permission to market the mini dental implant devices to the general public. After providing satisfactory technical and clinical evidence to that agency that the product was safe for public use and in fact had beneficial attributes, the FDA granted its formal consent to market the Mini Dental Implant device not only as a transitional or temporary dental product, but significantly, as an on-going item. No competitor dental product can make this claim. As stated, IMTEC’s introduction of the Mini Dental Implant to the dental industry and appropriate marketing efforts under a license granted by Dr. Sendax, followed the FDA’s consent to market.

How specifically can Mini Dental Implants help denture wearers?

The standard insertion protocol for mini dental implants calls for four of them to be gently screwed into the front of a patient’s lower jaw. This is a relatively painless procedure that can be performed by a general dentist, requiring only a mild anesthesia. The mini dental implants, which are approximately the size of wooden toothpicks, are placed about five millimeters apart in the patient’s mandible. The patient’s denture is then carefully adjusted by the dentist to allow it to snap onto the four mini implants. The result? A tight fitting, completely reliable system that allows a patient to speak and eat with confidence. The Mini Dental Implants are placed in about an hour’s time. Because of the unique, minimally invasive procedure, the minute size of the implants, and the characteristic placement area, the typical Mini Dental Implant patient can enjoy a light meal an hour after having the mini implants placed.

I’m somewhat aware of the tremendous forces the human jaw usually endures during normal chewing of food. How can these tiny Mini Dental Implants withstand that?

It’s true that what the dental profession calls occlusal forces create dynamic pressures on the human jaw. Our jaws are marvelously designed to adequately withstand those forces. It’s also true that mankind has been struggling for centuries to come up with some type of metal or metallic element that can efficiently withstand those forces. Most have been outright failures. However, approximately twenty-five years ago some doctors around the world began experimenting with titanium as a potential dental medium. Titanium is an extremely strong metal used in the construction of aircraft and aircraft engines. The metal, in its commercial form, is incredibly strong and durable. The Sendax Mini Dental Implants takes that metallurgical concept to the next level by adapting an industry approved alloy of titanium. The result is the strongest metal on earth, now commonly referred to as titanium alloy. In fact, extensive tests conducted several years ago by the University of Alabama-Birmingham School of Orthopedics at Dr. Sendax’s behest revealed that the particular titanium alloy implants used in the IMTEC Sendax Mini Dental Implants are 64% stronger than ones constructed of commercially pure titanium. The bottom line of this discussion area is simple: If a denture patient has sufficient bone mass to create a rock hard placement of the tiny implant, which an experienced dentist can usually determine by an initial examination, the mini dental implants will generally withstand normal chewing forces just like natural teeth. Fractures are extremely rare, but as the case with a person’s normal teeth, can certainly occur.

You’ve told us about the diameter of the Mini Dental Implants. How long are they?

IMTEC Corporation manufactures and sells the Mini Dental Implants in four lengths, l0, l3, l5 & l8 mm’s. One trained in dental science will recognize instantly that these lengths appropriately anticipate the type of depths that are needed in a wide variety of prospective Mini Dental Implant patients. The company also manufactures what it calls the Mini Dental Implant MAX that’s sold in l0, l3 & l5 mm’s. The use of the MAX is explained in the next question.

I’ve been told by my dentist that my jaw bone is not “dense.” Is this a problem with Mini Dental Implants? Will a dentist be able to get a rock-solid resistance state in such a situation?

After utilizing the standard Mini Dental Implants in his practice, Dr. Bulard quickly anticipated this type of dental patient, and as a result, has taken steps to expand IMTEC Corporation’s original production offering to provide an Mini Dental Implant MAX implant. Equipped with the same dimensions as the standard ones, the MAX has a different thread design that enables the implant to bite into softer bone and hold. It’s ideal for a patient whose bone density is lacking.

What about failures with Mini Dental Implants?

It must be recognized that all implant systems as well as natural teeth are subject to potential failure due to natural causes, including osteoporosis, poor oral hygiene, wear and tear attrition, poor health, heavy, stressful biting habits, and lack of follow-up dental maintenance care. Mini implants similarly do not carry any actual or implied guarantee as to longevity. However, the loss of a Mini Dental Implant is a far less critical event to the patient since it may be replaced at relatively minimal cost compared to conventional implants, and with minimal associated bone or gum deterioration.

How are Mini Dental Implants different?

As a revolutionary departure from routine dental implant methods, Mini Dental Implants are so narrow they are typically inserted directly through the overlying gum tissue and into the bone underneath. Consequently the need to surgically cut and “flap” open the gum tissue, routinely required for standard implant systems, is avoided in most Mini Dental Implant applications. As a result, post-insertion patient irritation and soreness is significantly reduced. While all dental implants require care during insertion to avoid encroaching on vulnerable nerve, sinus or bony structures, the ultra small width of the mini implants offers a much more comfortable margin of safety.

What type surgery is involved with Mini Dental Implants?

A single, minimally invasive surgery is needed for insertion of the Mini Dental Implants. The implants are then put into immediate biting or “loading” function thanks to their “self-tapping” design, thereby anchoring a fixed bridge system. As a result, it is often possible to provide the complete mini implant service in a single office visit. Mini dental implants clearly represent an enormous breakthrough for the dental implant specialty as the most patient-friendly, cost-effective, proven dental implant system available today.

What will my first day be like with Mini Dental Implants?

How do I place & remove my dentures?

What’s a typical daily routine one might expect once the Mini Dental Implants have been placed?

I’ve heard that standard dental implants are quitet expensive. What about Mini Dental Implants?

Mini Dental Implants are suprisingly affordable, at a fraction of the cost of traditional implants. By choosing the Mini Dental Implant, you’ve chosen an enhanced way of life free of a lot of the discomforts and heartaches of a loose or ill-fitting denture. That’s worth a lot.

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