Dental implants are manufactured replacements for permanent teeth. Unlike dentures, dental implants include a metal post that is anchored into the jawbone, with a prosthetic tooth on top. Once in place, dental implants are not removed. They look, feel, and act like natural teeth, which is why many patients choose implants over dentures. If you are looking for a solution to tooth loss, you may be a candidate for dental implants if you meet these 4 requirements:
1. Have Ample Bone And Gum Density
The dental implant procedure relies on a healthy set of gums and a strong jawbone capable of supporting the implant system. When implants are placed in a person's jaw, they bond with the surrounding bone in a process called osseointegration. If you don't have enough healthy bone at the implant site, the bonding process won't happen and the dental implant will fail.
Luckily, If your bone and gum tissue have lost volume or density, there are things you can do to restore them to proper health, including a bone graft and/or soft tissue augmentation. After having one or both of these procedures and your mouth has healed, you can then have dental implants.
If you've recently had a tooth or teeth extracted, then your jawbone and gums are most likely healthy enough for the dental implants procedure.
2. In Good Overall Health
While it seems like dental implants only pertain to the mouth, candidates must be in good overall health as well. This is because there are many health issues that can complicate the healing process after an implant has been placed in the jaw. If you have a health issue that could hinder osseointegration or negatively affect the healing process, it should be dealt with prior to receiving the implants. Some of the health issues that can complicate the healing process include:
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
- High blood pressure
3. No Bite Alignment Issues
In some cases, having dental implants will resolve bite alignment issues. It all depends on what the alignment issues are and where the implants will be placed. What makes having bite issues a concern when getting dental implants is that it causes jaw, teeth, and muscle strain that could prevent the implant from bonding properly to the jaw bone. The stress from poor bite alignment can also prevent an implant from healing properly. If you do have bite alignment issues, sometimes they can be fixed with retainers, braces, or other types of treatments. After the bite alignment has been corrected, you can then move forward with the dental implant procedure.
One of the most important factors in determining dental implant candidacy is whether you are a smoker or not, because several studies have shown that there is a significantly higher dental implant failure rate among smokers. Smoking slows down the healing process and is detrimental to the stability of the implant. Smoking also increases the chances of complications following dental implantation procedures. If you can quit smoking during the dental implantation process and throughout the healing process, then your dentist may still agree to do the procedure on you.
Only a dentist can tell you for sure if you are a candidate for dental implants. But, if you meet most or all of these requirements, there's a good chance that you are a good candidate for dental implants. For more information about dental implants, call your local dentist. He or she will be happy to talk to you about your personal situation and the feasibility of getting dental implants.