Dental implants have transformed the lives of millions of people in America. Surgically implanted in the jaw bone, with an artificial tooth attached, dental implants offer cosmetic, oral health, and functional benefits. So, if you’re missing one or more teeth, read on to find out if you’re a good candidate for dental implants.
Who Qualifies for Dental Implants?
Most people will be excellent candidates for dental implants, though some people may require additional treatments before undergoing implant surgery. Here’s how dentists determine if you’re a good candidate.
If you’ve been missing a tooth or teeth for a while, your jawbone has receded beneath your gums. Your dentist will use high-tech imaging to measure your jaw bone. If the jaw bone is strong enough to support the surgically implanted screws, and you have no other conditions that need to be treated, you’ll be a candidate for dental implants.
If your jawbone isn’t dense enough and tall enough to support the implant, you’ll need a procedure known as bone grafting before you’ll be approved for dental implants.
To be approved for dental implants, your dentist will need to confirm that you are free of gum disease. If you have mild gum disease (gingivitis), you will need a deep cleaning (scaling and root planing) procedure before you’ll be deemed an eligible candidate.
18 Years or Older
In some cases, patients younger than 18 may be approved for dental implants, but in most cases, dentists require that patients are at least 18. This is because the facial structure is still developing, and any changes to the size or shape of the jaw after dental implant surgery can lead to complications.
Smokers are not eligible for dental implants as tobacco use will hinder your recovery from implant surgery. Likewise, those who use smokeless tobacco may not be eligible for dental implants.
Some chronic conditions put patients at higher risk of infections following dental implant surgery. In some cases, patients with bleeding disorders, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and autoimmune conditions will be ineligible for dental implants.
Medications can interact with the anesthesia used during dental implant surgery, so your dentist will need a complete list of all medications you take regularly. Certain medications that are known to increase bleeding such as ibuprofen may need to be stopped about a week before your surgery.
Reasons to Consider Dental Implants
If you’re missing one or more teeth, dental implants are an excellent solution. Dental implants offer benefits such as:
- Durability-with good oral health habits, your dental implants will last decades
- Improved self confidence-replacing missing teeth can boost your self-esteem
- Jawbone preservation- dental implants will prevent further loss of bone and may promote new bone growth
- Restored bite and chewing abilities-you’ll be able to enjoy all your favorite foods again
- Easy to maintain-brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly to maintain your dental implants
- Cavity resistant-the crowns used in dental implants will not develop decay
- Maintain facial structure-by stopping the loss of bone, you won’t experience a sunken facial appearance