Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
When a person loses a tooth or multiple teeth, they can get a denture, bridge, or implant. Of these three, an implant is the closest you can get to natural teeth. It looks and feels natural while also offering the best experience. Results from a five-year study indicate over a 90% success rate for dental implant operations. The high success rate is one of the reasons many people tend to opt for this option to replace their missing or damaged teeth.
Sadly, despite its high success rate, dental implantation is a complex surgical procedure, and like all procedures, it is simply not for everybody. While some people make great candidates for this procedure, others are not so lucky. So, how do you determine if dental implants would work for you? Here is some basic information about this procedure and what makes you qualified to get it.
What Conditions Require Dental Implants?
Let’s start with why you might need to get an implant in the first place. A dental implant is a type of metal screw that is drilled and fixed into a person’s jawbone. This way, it serves as an artificial root for the replacement teeth.
Having an incomplete set of teeth can be embarrassing, and that’s enough reason to consider getting dental implants. It works whether you’re looking to replace a single missing tooth or several teeth. In some extreme cases, patients may need to have all their teeth fixed. Dental implants work in these situations too. Other dental defects that require dental implants are:
- Cracked teeth: Direct hit to the mouth can cause broken teeth. Contact sports, exercises, and falls are the most common activities that can cause dental cracks. Most times, the damage is not too severe and can be fixed with a filling. However, in some cases, the structure of the teeth may become compromised in some situations and may have to be removed entirely. Dental implants are ideal for situations like this.
- Tooth decay: Bad oral health, sugary food, and bacteria are the leading causes of tooth decay — plaque forms around the teeth when you do not clean your teeth properly. If the situation is not addressed in time, you may lose a tooth, and dental implants may be required as a replacement.
- Loose teeth: Weak jawbones and shifting teeth are common problems. Most times, the movement is unnoticed and is only detected when the teeth become loose. The loose teeth may eventually fall out and create gaps.
Gum diseases may be the underlying cause of loose teeth as well. A condition like gingivitis has the early symptoms of inflammation and prolonged bleeding. The condition weakens your dental structure. There are other disorders that affect normal teeth development resulting in permanent teeth loss. Dental implants can be a good option to restore normalcy for these dental conditions.
What Makes Me a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
If your mouth is missing one or more teeth, you may qualify to get dental implants to replace your missing teeth permanently. However, this is not the same for everyone. As beneficial as this procedure is, you’ll have to meet some specific criteria to qualify. This includes:
Good Oral Health
Poor oral health leads to tooth decay and gum issues, and these dental issues will make it difficult for you to get an implant. Brushing your teeth regularly, flossing, keeping your dental appointment, and eating the right food will help you maintain perfect dental health. But having teeth and gum issues does not immediately rule out the possibility of getting an implant. Usually, the dentist will examine your gum to see if the underlying disease can be treated. Once the treatment is done and your dentist certifies your mouth is healthy enough for the procedure, you are good to go.
Dental implants require good bone density for good support. The implant is drilled into your jawbone to serve as the root for your replacement teeth. Your jawbone has to be strong enough to support the artificial implant. The implant will become loose over time if your jawbone density is poor, which can lead to complications.
Do you smoke or chew tobacco? If so, you may not be a very good candidate for a dental implant. Some constituents of tobacco plants interfere with the healing process after your procedure. This increases the risk of infection if you’re allowed to get an implant. Before the procedure, your dentist will ask you if you currently smoke or once had a habit of tobacco use. You may still be eligible to get the procedure done if you’re in the process of quitting or you have just quit recently.
How to Improve My Chances of Getting a Dental Implant
For people whose chances of getting an implant are low because they have weak jaws or poor gum health, a few things can be done to salvage the situation. They include the following:
Dentists usually suggest a bone graft procedure for patients with weak jawbones. This procedure makes your jaws strong enough to hold the dental implant in place. For the procedure, the dentist takes bone tissues from your own body or a tissue bank and introduces them into your jaws. An artificial bone graft works too. In a few weeks, the volume of your jawbone should increase. Once your mouth is fully healed, you may get your dental implant. Grafting procedures can also be applied as a corrective measure for receding gums, one of the common gum problems that make it difficult to get an implant.
Deformities in the upper and lower jaws can also cause inadequate jawbone density. However, it is possible to modify the ridge of the mouth. The process guarantees an improved appearance and improves your chances of getting a successful dental implant. Although ridge modification is very similar to bone grafting, the former helps to reshape the newly grown bone after a successful graft.
Dental implants are generally more successful in the lower jaw than in the upper jaw. Apart from insufficient bone quality and quality, the upper jaw is close to the sinus. However, you can increase the chances of a successful upper jaw dental implant by raising the sinus floor.
People Who Shouldn’t Get the Transplant
In addition to the criteria above, certain people are not great candidates for dental implants, even if they seem to have great oral health at the moment. The following groups of people are exempted from getting an implant:
- Children and teenagers: Children and teens are not great candidates for dental procedures mainly because they’re still developing. Their body continues to grow until they’re about 19 years old. Since dental implants are permanent, it is not advisable to install any structure that will affect normal jaw growth. Your dentist will recommend other suitable options if you happen to lose a tooth.
- Those 80 years and older: Generally, dental implants are not recommended for people in their 80s or older. That’s because people in this age bracket heal very slowly and are susceptible to chronic illnesses. The risk of surgery complications increases with age too. Except in extremely rare conditions, people older than 85 do not need to get dental implants.
Having a complete set of teeth doesn’t just help you chew food better. It also boosts your confidence and helps your speech. Unfortunately, accidents happen, and you may lose a tooth. Surgical, dental implants are the best permanent replacement for damaged and lost teeth. But before you get implants, you should speak to dental experts first. Our professionals at Smile Artistry Chino Valley will examine your teeth to see if you’re an ideal candidate for this procedure or recommend alternatives that’ll work just great for you. Call to schedule an appointment or visit our dental clinic to talk to Dr. Vijaya Cherukuri.