Short dental implants have been around for a long time. I mainly only use them in one area of the mouth. The lower back molar area is the most common area to use shorter, smaller dental implants to avoid damage to nerve that is inside the bone. For more than a decade, I have been placing these types of dental implants in my Burbank office.
Ideally, implants that are 10-13mm long are best when there is enough bone for them. Of course when there is not enough bone, most of the time it is better to rebuild your bone to put is a regular size implant. If it is not possible, short 5-8mm implants can be done.
Another alternative is to move the nerve out of the way through a nerve reposition so that it is out of the way. That would be the equivalent of moving an electrical pole out of the way to build your house in the right spot.
I generated a surgical drill guide utilizing her CT scan and my Simplant virtual implant surgery software. This allowed me to place the implants with a higher degree of precision since there was no room for error. The nerve is the orange line or dot in the images. You can see that it is close!
Short implants do work! In the right situation, you can avoid the need for bone grafting. They do require more skill to place during surgery than longer ones and they should have the teeth made a different way. Because they are short, the teeth usually need to be connected for strength as opposed to individual teeth.
Ramsey A. Amin, D.D.S.
Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology /Implant Dentistry
Fellow-American Academy of Implant Dentistry Burbank, CA