If you have gaps in your smile, you've probably thought about getting dental implants. Whether your dental condition comes from advanced oral caries or an injury, dental implants may offer the best possible solution.
But how do you know that dental implants are right for you? While you and your dentist must may the final decision, this blog can give you a better idea of whether or not you qualify as a viable candidate for dental implants.
Requirements for Implant Candidates
Dental implants consist of a titanium screw that dentists insert into the patient's jaw and a natural-looking synthetic tooth. This process can prove strenuous for some patients, so to minimise any complications, patients must meet specific requirements before the procedure.
These requirements include:
- Adequate jaw bone density: Some patients with bone loss or worn jaw bones do not have the required bone support to sustain an implant. Your dentist will use x-rays and other in-office tests to determine whether or not you have adequate jaw bone density.
- Commitment to hygiene and implant care: Because good oral hygiene dramatically affects the lifespan of an implant, a patient must commit to practice good oral hygiene habits to care for the new implant.
- Good oral health: In addition to strong bone, implants require healthy gum and connective tissue. In order to qualify for implants, a patient must have good oral health and resolve any negative gum conditions prior to receiving the implant.
- Good overall health: While implant surgery does not require intensive healing, it should not be undertaken by patients with compromised immune systems. Patients must also be non-smokers or agree to quit smoking for the duration of the implant process. This requirement is due to the negative impact tobacco can have on gum health and elasticity.
Many patients who cannot initially qualify can receive dental implants after they gradually improve their oral and overall health. However, some conditions may prevent a patient from getting dental implants.
Conditions That Impact Implant Viability
A range of issues can impact whether or not you qualify for dental implants. Common conditions that affect this process include:
- Bruxism, also known as tooth grinding
- Cancer actively treated by radiation or chemotherapy
- Prescription medication that causes blood thinning or a compromised immune system, including steroids
- Uncontrolled diabetes and other chronic systemic diseases
- Young age, where the jaw bone has not yet fully developed
It's important to note that none of the above conditions automatically disqualify you from receiving implants (except pregnancy and incomplete bone development).
If you experience bruxism, your dentist will first seek to resolve this issue. Treatment may include a custom mouth guard that you wear during the night.
If you undergo cancer treatment, your dentist may require that you wait until remission to have an implant placed. Similarly, if you take medications which would affect the implant process, your dentist may consult with your doctor to change your dosage or require that you wait until you stop taking the medication.
If you have diabetes, hemophilia or a connective tissue disease and do not currently have a treatment plan for the condition, talk to your doctor before you make an appointment to ask your dentist about dental implants. You will likely need to begin that treatment plan before your dentist considers dental implants.
Do you meet the requirements for dental implants?
alk to your dentist about starting your treatment plan today.
Even if you experience some of the conditions which affect implant viability, you may still qualify for this treatment. Some patients with issues that could prevent dental implants can work with their dentists to replace damaged or missing teeth with dental bridges, dentures or other cosmetic treatments.
Use this information to help you make the decision to pursue dental implant treatment the next time you visit your dentist.