Good Candidates for Dental Implants
By John Rink DDS on July 15, 2014
The effects of lost teeth can most readily be seen in a smile, thus detracting from someone’s appearance and confidence. As that person will come to find out, though, missing teeth can pose many other problems as well. From difficulties in speech and eating to shifting teeth and impaired hygiene, even one lost tooth can seem to make a world of difference. Luckily, there are multiple ways to permanently restore teeth in both form and functionality, and dental implants are often the most effective restorative technique.
Unfortunately, not everyone is a candidate for implants. Patients must have the correct expectations for treatment and be able to fully recover from surgery. More importantly, patients must be able to support dental implants in the first place. Use the following guidelines to determine whether you may be a candidate for implants at our Charleston restorative and cosmetic dental practice.
Positive Expectations for Treatment
First and foremost, the best candidates for any procedure are those who have accurate and realistic expectations for treatment. After a successful implant surgery and recovery, patients can benefit from tooth replacements that are sturdy, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. Still, patients should understand that implant surgery requires weeks of recovery and months of additional waiting time before they are fully integrated and reliable. To this end, any candidate for surgery must be prepared to care for their implants and general dental health to ensure the success of treatment. Likewise, dental implants still require basic hygienic and preventative dentistry practices in order to remain effective - like other teeth, implant health cannot be simply ignored. Finally, patients should realize that no replacement technique can be truly identical to the appearance and strength of a natural tooth. Nevertheless, dental implants often provide the best alternative.
Ample Jaw Support for Implants
One of the largest factors that can make or break patients’ candidacy for implants is their ability to physically support them. Since implants are installed into the jawbone, they require an ample amount of bone tissue for support. This is not typically a problem for patients unless they have already suffered from years of tooth loss. The natural roots of teeth help promote bone health and keep jaw tissue in place. Once those roots are gone, the bone begins to degrade over time. This tissue loss can be reduced or prevented through the placement of dental implants, but other tooth replacement techniques do not provide the same benefit. Similarly, patients who have a history of advanced gum disease, or periodontitis, may also have experienced bone loss. By having an examination at our office, you can determine whether your jaw is able to support dental implants.
Dental implants also require a full, successful recovery after installation. This means that patients’ gums must be able to heal around the implants without forming any infection or disease. If patients already have gum disease prior to surgery, they must first control it through proper hygiene or professional periodontal treatment. After implant surgery, patients must take good care of their teeth and gums in order to stave off any formation of inflammation or disease.
Additional Considerations for Treatment
When you come in for a consultation, your dentist will want to discuss your dental and medical history to identify any potential risk factors. The following problems may also present certain risks to implant surgery, and should at least be considered in regard to your candidacy:
- Smoking: Patients who smoke suffer from a higher risk of gum disease and infection, and thus implant failure. Smokers will be asked to abstain from tobacco use for a given time before and after treatment.
- Teeth grinding: Also called bruxism, habitual teeth grinding may make it more difficult for implants to heal. This is often solved through the use of a night guard or similar occlusal appliance to protect your teeth while you sleep.
- Health conditions: Some diseases and health conditions may reduce one’s ability to successfully recover from surgery. Speak with your dentist at length about any indications of system disease or similar health risks.
Schedule a Consultation
Even if you believe you are an excellent candidate for dental implants, such a determination can only be made after an in-depth consultation and exam with a qualified dentist. Schedule an appointment at our office to learn more about dental implants and whether you can successfully undergo treatment.