Are You a Dental Implant Candidate?
Dental implants are frequently the best way to replace a missing tooth, though they’re not the right choice for everyone. If you are missing a tooth, you may be wondering if dental implants – permanent devices used to affix an artificial tooth inside the mouth – are right for you.
The first step to determine whether you are a dental implant candidate is to schedule an evaluation with your dentist. This visit will include a review of both your dental and medical histories, as well as a physical exam of your teeth and mouth. Evaluating patients for dental implants also requires x-ray images of the teeth and underlying jaw bone; some dentists will also schedule a CT scan, which helps them further examine the jaw.
What will your dentist be looking for during this evaluation? The main factor determining your eligibility for dental implants is the state of your jaw bone. During dental implant procedures, the implant is screwed into your jaw bone in order to provide an anchor for the artificial tooth. There must be enough jawbone present to anchor the implant in the bone. This frequently means that young patients are not good candidates for dental implants, because their jaw bone has not finished growing and developing. Many adults also do not have enough bone available in this area. If this is the case, you may still be able to get dental implants, but the bone will first need to be built up through a separate jaw bone grafting procedure before the implant can be inserted. The X-ray and CT scans can help the dentist determine if dental implants are possible, and whether a graft will be needed to build up the bone before you receive the implant.
The health of your teeth and gums will also be examined to determine whether you are a good candidate for dental implants. Ideal candidates have no untreated dental issues such as cavities or periodontal disease. Some signs of tooth decay will need to be corrected before you undergo the dental implant procedure. If the dentist notices signs of clenching, grinding, or other tooth wear, this may be an indication that the patient is not a good candidate for implants. These actions place a high amount of stress on the teeth, which could crack or damage an implant.
Your dental health is not the only part of your medical history affecting your ability to get dental implants. Ideal candidates are also in good physical health. While adults of any age can receive dental implants, pregnant women and smokers may not be good candidates. People taking steroids, who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments, or who take other medications that suppress the immune system may also be ineligible for dental implants. Other medical concerns that may prevent a patient from getting dental implants include bone and blood disorders, bone marrow cancer, parathyroid disorders, or uncontrolled diabetes. While it may still be possible to get dental implants if you have one of these medical issues, you will want to discuss your decision with both your doctor and dentist.
If you find that you are a good candidate click on the following link to learn about what dental implants cost.