It’s not unusual to lose a tooth due to ageing, decay, trauma or injury. If you’ve lost a tooth, you might be considering dental implants to restore back your smile. But are dental implants suitable for you? This article will help assess your candidacy.
Factors that make you a good dental implant candidate
If you’re an adult with good enough health for surgery, you already passed the first criteria for dental implants. Next, you must have healthy gums and adequate jaw bone to support the implant. Ideally, the best candidates for dental implants are those with healthy gum tissues and free of periodontal disease.
When you lose a tooth, your jawbone which supports the root will start to deteriorate. Once the bone is gone, it will not grow back. Hence, it’s important to receive treatment as soon as possible once you lose a tooth to prevent complications down the road. To be a good candidate for dental implants, you need to also commit to a high level of oral hygiene to take care of your implanted teeth and surrounding gums. This means daily flossing and brushing and regular check-ups at the dentist.
Medical conditions and other factors that might affect your candidacy for dental implants negatively
If you have gum disease, it is best that you get it treated first before going dental implant surgery. This may take weeks or even months, but it is necessary. Gum disease can affect dental implants the same way it affects your natural teeth roots. Further, if you have gum disease while having dental implants, it might result in implant failure, where the implant falls out and causes inflammation.
Lack of jaw bone
Dental implants rely on the jawbone for support. If you do not have adequate jawbone or if your jawbone is too thin or soft, the good news is you may still get dental implants with the help of a bone graft procedure. The bone graft will help improve the bony architecture of the jaw, allowing the titanium implants to sit and osseointegrate with the bone nicely.
Pregnant women are generally not advised to do any surgery including dental implant surgery, as high stress levels and heightened anxiousness that comes with surgery can affect the development of the baby.
If you are on certain medications like steroids or drugs that suppress your immune system, you may not be a suitable candidate for dental implants. Similarly, if you’ve undergone high-dose radiation treatment to the head or neck, you may not qualify for dental implants.
If you are a smoker, it is highly recommended that you quit smoking as smoking can adversely hinder healing and increase your risk of implant failure.
If you tend to grind or clench your teeth especially at night, you may not be suitable for dental implants as excessive pressure on implants could cause long term damage.
As dental implants require sufficient jawbone that’s of good quality, young people (18 years and below) do not qualify for dental implants as their jawbones are still growing.
Certain medical conditions might prevent you from getting dental implants. They include:
- Immune deficiencies
- Uncontrolled gum disease
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Connective-tissue disorder
If you have any existing medical conditions, it is best that you communicate them to your dentist. Depending on the severity and extent of your condition, you may still be a good candidate for dental implants. Your dentist and physician may have to work together to evaluate the situation.
Can I still get dental implants if I have several missing teeth?
Of course! If you have several missing teeth, you could be a suitable candidate for an implant-supported bridge.
An implant-supported bridge works the same way as a standard dental bridge, except it’s not supported by natural teeth. There is no damage to surrounding teeth as well. Even if you’ve lost all your teeth, dental implants can help too. For example, if all your teeth are missing from your upper jaw, four implants can be placed to replace all twelve upper teeth.
Are dental implants worth it?
Dental implants may be costly, but they are long term investments and carry benefits over other dental treatments. For example, dental implants do not require grinding down and modification of other teeth as compared to other treatments such as dental bridges. The chances of a dental implant failing are also extremely low, and unlike dentures, dental implants do not require continuous refinement.
If you wish to know whether you’re a good fit for dental implants or have any questions regarding the procedure, feel free to reach out and we would be happy to help.
- Naseri, R., Yaghini, J., & Feizi, A. (2020). Levels of smoking and dental implants failure: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of clinical periodontology, 47(4), 518–528. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpe.13257
- Manfredini, D., Poggio, C. E., & Lobbezoo, F. (2014). Is bruxism a risk factor for dental implants? A systematic review of the literature. Clinical implant dentistry and related research, 16(3), 460–469. https://doi.org/10.1111/cid.12015