Living with missing teeth can affect multiple aspects of your life, including your ability to eat, pronounce properly, and even get to know new people. Fortunately, with the help of your periodontist, you can enjoy a smile that looks like it never had problems in the first place. Dental implants, which are artificial teeth implanted directly into your natural jawbone, are strong, durable, and nearly indistinguishable from your normal teeth. However, implants aren't right for everyone. Here are three things that every good dental implant candidate should have.
1. Healthy, Dense Jawbone Tissue
Most people don't realize it, but when teeth go missing, bone starts melting away too. Your natural dental roots are connected to your jawbone by strong ligaments, which tug the bone slightly as you talk and chew. This tugging movement stimulates the jawbone tissue to keep the area healthy and strong. Unfortunately, when teeth fall out, the bone doesn't receive this stimulation and it starts to melt away.
Bone loss occurs rapidly. In fact, research has shown that bone width can decrease as much as 25% within the first year after the tooth goes missing. Unfortunately, since dental implants rely on healthy, strong, dense jawbone tissue to remain stable and upright, missing jawbone tissue could affect your candidacy for implants.
Before your periodontist schedules your implant surgery, he or she will carefully measure the depth, width, and overall health of your jawbone tissue. If you don't have sufficient bone mass or density for an implant, you may require bone grafting prior to receiving dental implants.
2. A Willingness To Stop Smoking
Smoking is incredibly detrimental to your oral health, causing problems like yellowed teeth, bad breath, and even gum disease. Studies have shown that smoking increases a person's gum disease risk by more than 300%, since smoking introduces bacteria to the oral cavity and impedes tissue healing. Because of these potential issues, people who currently smoke aren't candidates for dental implant surgery.
In order to avoid infections and to speed healing, candidates for dental implants need to either stop smoking altogether prior to their surgery or be willing to stop throughout the duration of their implant treatment. If smoking persists after dental implants surgery, you are at a higher risk for implant failure, serious infections, and a much slower recovery.
3. Medical Clearance
For dental implant surgery to be successful, patients need to be generally healthy and free of certain conditions that could impact your ability to heal. For this reason, your dentist or periodontist will carefully evaluate your medical history and may even contact your general practitioner to find out if you are a viable candidate for dental implants.
Patients with uncontrolled diseases, including HIV, diabetes, or cancer may not be candidates for surgery. Patients who have taken certain medications in the past, such as bisphosphonates, may not be candidates for implant surgery because they can affect the jaw's ability to heal.
In order to streamline your dental implant surgery and to increase your chances of a successful procedure, be open and honest with your dentist or periodontist about your health. Fill out medical history forms entirely, and don't be afraid to mention different disorders that could disqualify you from surgery. Your doctor and dentist will do everything they can to improve your candidacy so that you can enjoy the smile of your dreams.
Every person's smile is a little different, which is why the only way to find out whether or not implants are right for you is to meet with your periodontist. After evaluating your medical history and the condition of your teeth, jawbone, and gums, your dentist can create a treatment plan completely personalized for your smile. For more information, check out the site linked to in this piece.