Who Is a Candidate for Dental Implants
Dental implants are a highly effective and popular solution to replacing missing teeth. Many patients seek out dental implants to restore the function and appearance of their smile. Before receiving implants, however, your dentist must confirm that you qualify as a candidate.
Have You Lost Permanent Teeth?
Patients can lose teeth from facial trauma, tooth decay, gum disease, and grinding teeth, requiring a replacement. If you plan to have a tooth extracted, you may also be eligible to replace the extracted tooth with a dental implant. Whether you have lost one tooth or multiple teeth, there are several varying implant options that can effectively replace any number of missing teeth.
How Old Are You?
Despite what some patients might think, old age is not a limiting factor to receiving dental implants. Age may result in a prolonged recovery period, but old age will not determine candidacy for an implant procedure.
On the contrary, it is possible for patients to be too young for an implant procedure. Adolescents can sometimes receive dental implants to replace missing teeth, but we suggest waiting until the jaw has finished growing. On average, the jaw will be fully grown around age 18 for boys and age 16 for girls. In the meantime, we offer our teenage patients temporary, removable alternatives.
Do You Have Adequate Oral Health?
Dental implant placement is a surgical procedure, meaning some form of anesthesia is required. To receive anesthesia, you must have adequate oral and overall health. Any preexisting oral diseases or conditions, such as cavities or gum disease, will need to be treated before we can plan a dental implant treatment.
Other medical conditions, like diabetes or hypertension, will need to be under control before dental implant surgery. A clean bill of health means a reduced risk of complications during and after your surgery. Maintaining proper health and nutrition will also ensure a faster, smoother recovery period.
Do You Smoke?
The health complications and concerns related to cigarette use are well-documented and widely known. Although we would advise that all patients not smoke, this is particularly important for our dental implant patients.
Smoking during the recovery period after surgery can cause several complications. In order for the surgical site to heal, we will need blood clots to form. If you are smoking during the recovery period, these blood clots can become dislodged and reopen the wound. This will leave the surgical site vulnerable to food residue, bacteria, and infection. Additionally, the nicotine intake from smoking cigarettes will lower your oxygen levels and slow blood flow. This will slow down the rate at which nutrients reach the surgical site, increase the risk of infection, and drag out the length of recovery. If you smoke regularly, you will most likely need to quit in order to receive dental implants.
Do You Have Enough Bone Mass?
For dental implants to succeed, the jawbone must fuse to the titanium posts. The implant is properly secured once this bond is formed. If your jawbone has deteriorated from tooth decay, atrophied from a lack of stimulus, or is otherwise insufficient, the dental implant will fail.
Inadequate bone mass can be addressed with a bone graft. This bone graft can restore or strengthen the jawbone as needed so it can successfully support and bond with the implant.
A consultation appointment is necessary to determine whether or not you are able to receive dental implants. During this consultation, your surgeon will review your oral health and medical history to see if dental implants are the ideal treatment for you.
To schedule a consultation or find out more about receiving dental implants, please contact our office at 214-363-9946.