Dental Implants: Are You a Good Candidate?

Dental implants have become the standard procedure to remedy those in need of a permanent tooth replacement. And it’s no wonder why: they offer a level of comfort, function, and aesthetics that is unmatched by any other type of dental prosthetic! 

In addition, dental implants are much more durable than natural teeth, and they can last a lifetime with proper care. If you are considering tooth replacement, it’s important to note that this procedure, while extremely common and seamless, does have some criteria it requires from a patient!

To better understand what may or may not make you the ideal candidate for dental implants, let’s go over the procedure and its requirements.

A Quick Look at the Procedure

Dental implants are titanium posts that are placed into the jawbone to act as artificial teeth roots, and are topped off with an artificial tooth (crown or bridge) atop. This gives patient’s the restored look and function of a natural and complete smile- while boasting an unparalleled sense of durability! 

Once the post is in place, a drill is used to create a small hole in the titanium, which helps the metal bond with the bone. 

Next, an abutment (a connector piece) is placed on top of the post. This is what will eventually hold the crown or bridge (the artificial tooth). The abutment is usually made of titanium, porcelain or metal. 

Finally, a mold is made of the mouth in order to create the custom crown or bridge, which is then attached to the abutment. 

Remember, dental implants are a near permanent solution for missing teeth. They are strong and durable, and can last upwards of 25 years with proper care!

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The Requirements

While this procedure is a walk in the park for dental professionals to perform, it is still quite an invasive and substantial process that isn’t applicable to everyone. So, let’s break down the ideal candidate to receive a dental implant!

Relatively Healthy

In order for dental implants to be successful, it is important that you be in good health. This is because infection can be a risk with any type of surgery, and an implant procedure is no different.

If you have any chronic health conditions, it is important to tell your doctor so they can determine if dental implants are right for you. Some of the most common conditions which hinder the viability of implants are;

  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cancers
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Gingivitis
  • Addiction problems

The good news is, if you struggle with any of these aforementioned complications, there are other options available to you, such as dentures or crowns!

In addition, certain medications can increase the risk of infection or implant rejection. Therefore, it is important to communicate with your doctor about all of the medications you are taking. With good health and proper communication, dental implants can be a great way to replace missing teeth.

Adequate Jawbone Density

When considering dental implants, one important factor is adequate jawbone density. The jawbone needs to be dense enough to support the titanium implant post, which is placed into the bone during a surgical procedure.

In order for the post to be placed, the surgeon must first drill a hole in the jawbone. If the jawbone is not dense enough, it will not be able to withstand this drilling, and the implant will not be possible. 

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Additionally, a healthy jawbone is necessary for successful osseointegration, which is the process by which the implant post fuses with the bone. This fusion is what gives dental implants their strength and stability. 

Finally, adequate jawbone density is especially important for elderly patients, as bones tend to grow weaker with age. For all these reasons, it is essential to have adequate jawbone density before considering dental implants.

Responsibility and Lifestyle

Lifestyle habits can impact the success of dental implants. Factors such as how well you manage your oral hygiene and how routine your good oral habits are can make all the difference.

In addition, things like tobacco use and adult beverage consumption can also play a role in implant success. Implants are a great option for those who have lost teeth, but it’s important to be aware of the lifestyle choices that can impact their success.

Taking responsibility for your oral health is the first step to being a good candidate for dental implants. This also includes the stage of life of the patient. As younger patients in their teens and early adulthood may still be developing their jaw bone making implants less practical to restore a missing tooth. 

Additionally, beyond deteriorating bone density, some elderly patients may lack the ability to properly tend to their oral health efficiently enough on their own! Meaning a significant surgery like dental implants may not be suitable.

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