According to an epidemiological study, over 178 million Americans have lost at least one tooth. From this, over 40 million of them are missing all their teeth. If you fall into this category, you may consider dental implants as the solution but be unsure whether the surgical procedure is good for you.
Untreated, missing teeth interrupt one's chewing ability and also destroy the beautiful look of your smile. Most people with these conditions are good dental implant candidates, as it supports a single crown, dental bridge or even a set of dentures.
In fact, dental implants are one of the best ways to replace missing teeth. In this article, we explore the signs you should look for to determine whether you're a suitable candidate for dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are surgical fixtures placed in jawbones to fuse with the bone and replace the roots of missing teeth. We then top the implant with a bridge, crown, or any other type of restoration that has a natural appearance. After the process is successful, it becomes hard for one to recognize you are missing teeth in a certain area. It allows you to speak and chew normally and also restores your natural look.
Implantation starts with overall health, jaw, teeth, and mouth evaluation. You will receive a computed tomography (CT) scan or a mouth X-ray to identify your condition before treatment. Your health condition and history are important in determining whether dental implants will work for you.
What Dentists Look for
Although dental implants work for most patients, they are not for everyone. This is what your dentist will look for to determine your suitability:
- Strong jaw bone: Dental implants require dense and strong jaws for proper support as we position them directly into the jawbone. Your jawbone must be strong enough or be able to first get a bone graft. This allows the implant to bond with the jaw tissues and heals faster. The jawbone usually starts weakening after you've lost your teeth, as the biting and chewing stimulation stops. Over time, the jawbone becomes too weak and requires the dentist to place bone granules around the area of implant placement to allow it to heal and become strong again.
- Non-smokers: Oral tobacco and smoking are extremely dangerous for your oral health and raise the risk of complications after getting dental implants. Smoking makes the implant site more prone to serious infections as it recovers. Most dentists are not willing to use dental implants on smokers unless they commit to quitting smoking for the treatment period, which ranges from 3 to 6 months.
- Good overall oral health: Before getting a dental implant, your oral health must meet the set standards. If you have infected teeth, gum diseases, any major cavities, or any other serious oral issue, we must first resolve it, then proceed with the dental implants. A suitable candidate doesn't have an active periodontal disease.
We place dental implants in healthy mouths only because undiagnosed chronic oral issues may raise the risk of complications or implant failures. A disease such as osteonecrosis may also easily disqualify you from getting dental implants. This is because osteonecrosis illness reduces blood flow to the bones and may affect the way your bone tissues respond to the implants.
- Patients with patience: Although most implants will take only 3 to 6 months and become successful, some can take up to 12 months to heal. Dentists will look for people who are ready to follow instructions and take prescriptions as advised.
Dental Implants Success Factors
After receiving dental implants, they might be successful or fail depending on several factors. These factors include:
A dental implant is a surgical procedure and requires a healthy body for its success. Alcoholic, autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetic patients usually have low success rates as these conditions influence the implant healing process. If you can control your diabetes in the right way and quit alcohol through the healing process, you can still have successful dental implants.
Certain medications can also lower the success of dental implants. It is therefore advisable to discuss any over-the-counter or prescription medications you are taking with your dentist. If you are pregnant or have undergone some treatments such as high-dose radiation to the head or neck, you might not be suitable for dental implants.
Commitment to oral health
Excellent dental hygiene is one of the key determinants of dental implants' success. You should observe daily flossing and brushing, along with periodic visits and proper observance of specialist instructions. This also ensures you prevent the other natural teeth left from infections.
How your surgeon performs the dental implant operation is also a primary success determinant. An experienced surgeon will tell you the implants required to support your tooth replacement. They will also protect you from any further complications, such as iatrogenic trauma or injuries brought by dentists' activities.
Learning More About Dental Implants
Age can affect the amount of bone loss in a patient, hence affecting whether you are a suitable candidate for dental implants. But age is not a determining factor on its own, and anybody can receive implants. Other conditions that could make you not ideal for dental implants include cancer, connectivity tissue disorder, hemophilia and significant immune deficiencies.
You still may be a suitable candidate with these conditions, depending on the extent and severity of the ailment. We just may need to evaluate your condition and work with you to improve your health, then proceed with dental implants.
Choosing an experienced dental team is the first step towards your jaw, mouth, and face treatment success. At Palmetto Dental Arts, we use progressive dental techniques, compassionate care, and state-of-the-art equipment to ensure all our patients receive their required professional services in the best way possible.
If you have more questions about your suitability as a dental implant candidate or any other questions concerning your oral issue, schedule a complimentary consultation with us today and speak to one of our experienced staff.