There are many reasons someone may need or want Dental Implants. For those missing one or more teeth, your ability to chew may be interrupted if there are untreated areas of space in your mouth. Over time, this can become detrimental to the structural elements of your jaw, meaning it’s best to seek out a solution with your dentist as soon as possible.
When considering implants, many people look to improve the appearance of their smile and maintain good oral health. However, implant treatments may not be right for everyone, and some key factors may disqualify you from being able to receive this treatment.
You should be aware of some general requirements for dental implants if you’re looking for a solution to replace a broken or missing tooth. We will detail these below.
Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
Your dentist will closely examine your teeth and gums to understand why you may need an implant. Once they get a sense of your oral health and determine why the tooth—or teeth—is missing or damaged, this will ultimately determine if you can get a dental implant.
Many people are good candidates for dental implant surgery. In general, it’s ideal for patients to have teeth and gums that are in good health. There are other factors to consider as well, including the following.
Having good jawbone structure and support is essential since implants need to be reinforced and anchored by strong bone. Otherwise, they can become damaged over time. Good candidates for dental implants ideally have strong jaw construction and are old enough that their jawbone has stopped growing.
You may be wondering what happens if you don’t have enough bone for dental implants. Fortunately, many dentists can perform bone grafts to help with this problem. The bone graft must be done before any dental implants are officially placed to ensure success.
Proper Oral Hygiene
Whether you’re thinking about dental implants or not, having a daily oral health regimen is the best way to keep your smile shining and prevent infection or cavities. It is preferred that all candidates for implants are flossing, using mouthwash, and brushing their teeth twice a day. It’s also important to visit your dentist regularly for routine cleanings and checkups.
The entire process of getting dental implants, including installation and healing, can take anywhere from four to twelve months. Patients may need other procedures done first to prepare for the implant, like a bone or gum graft. Your mouth must be completely healed before the implant process begins, so it’s ideal for candidates to have as much patience as possible if they want to be committed to the process.
Who Is Not a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
On the other hand, there are certain risk factors patients may want to consider if they are thinking about getting a dental implant. Certain variables may put you at risk for poor outcomes after the implant placement, including:
- Smoking: Those who smoke are at a higher risk of infection post-procedure since smoking can hinder the healing process. Smokers looking to quit may be considered candidates, but other factors may be considered, such as how many cigarettes they have daily, how long they’ve been smoking, and their dedication to stopping.
- Disease: Certain diseases, like cancer, diabetes, alcoholism, and uncontrolled gum disease, may make the dental implant process less than ideal for some individuals. You can potentially still be considered a good candidate, but your dentist and doctor may need to work together to ensure your overall health would not be at risk.
- Medication: Individuals taking medications like steroids or other similar drugs are at a higher risk of a negative outcome since these can affect immune system function, potentially putting you at a higher risk of infection post-procedure.
- Clenching and Grinding: People who clench or grind their teeth at night may put unnecessary pressure on dental implants, causing long-term damage.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Dental implants are considered highly successful in both appearance and function. There are also many other benefits of dental implants that make this treatment option ideal for lost or damaged teeth.
- Natural Look and Feel: When receiving a dental implant, you can expect natural results. This means that the implant looks and functions just like a regular tooth without the worry of moving around or falling out.
- Durability: Like your other teeth, your dental implant can last for many years if properly cared for and maintained. Having to repair or replace a new tooth can be both expensive and time-consuming, so receiving an implant is an investment that will last for decades—rather than dentures or bridges that must be replaced every five to ten years.
- High Success Rate: If you practice proper oral hygiene by brushing twice a day, flossing, using mouthwash, and visiting your dentist for regular checkups, you can expect your dental implants to be successful for years. Implants are designed to last for decades and are known to have a 95% success rate.
- Protection for Your Jawbone: A dental implant can help to protect the structure of your jawbone and reduce any additional pressure put on your other teeth. If your facial bones are not protected, you may be at risk of bone resorption or deterioration.