Dental implants are among the miracles of modern medicine. However, not all patients are ideal candidates for tooth implants. It's important to understand what determines this and how you might be able to address the situation to improve the odds of a successful procedure.
The condition of the potential recipient's gums is among the most important factors. If someone's gums currently have signs of gum disease, that has to be controlled before dental implants have a good chance of taking.
Fortunately, your dentist and hygienist may be able to improve your gum health. Many prescription oral rinses can help the gums recover. Likewise, it's a good idea if you currently smoke or use chewing tobacco to discontinue usage. This may allow your gums a chance to recover.
Similarly, individuals with ongoing gum conditions driven by diabetes may need to improve their gum health. Generally, this involves working with a doctor to control the diabetes issues before moving forward with getting tooth implants.
Particularly if someone has had teeth missing for several years, the dental bones can atrophy. Without a tooth present to encourage continuing bone regeneration through pressure and friction, the body sometimes reabsorbs the dental bones. These are bones that provide a layer between the jaw and natural teeth. A dentist will use them as anchors for the posts that the implants attach to.
Ideally, you want to move forward with dental implants within a few months of an extraction or losing a tooth. This is especially the case if you have more than one tooth missing in a spot.
Your dentist will have a technician make X-rays to see how the bone structure is holding up. They will also verify that your jaw bone is in good enough shape for the procedure.
Dental implant procedures are very involved. People with dental anxiety need to have it controlled. If you've had episodes of anxiety during dental procedures, please inform your doctor so they can address them.
Number of Lost Teeth
While you certainly can have a dentist put in a single implant, many folks will let it go if the lost tooth is non-visible and doesn't affect chewing. The more teeth someone is missing, the more likely they should consider tooth implants. Notably, even with dentures, the loss of several teeth can produce digestive issues if the person can't fully chew certain foods. That's particularly the case with the loss of all of the molars, the bigger and wider teeth in the back of the mouth.
To find out if you're a candidate for dental implants, talk to your dentist.