Do you have one or more teeth that are missing or need to be extracted? If so, you may be a good candidate for dental implants. Dental implants are the leading tooth replacement option in dentistry, providing a natural look and function that can completely restore your smile.
If you’re considering dental implants, you may be wondering if you would be eligible for this restorative treatment. Here’s what makes or doesn’t make someone a candidate for dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root made of titanium. It is shaped like a screw with threads to help it fuse with the jaw bone. It takes the place of the natural root of a missing tooth and provides support for an artificial tooth. A single dental implant can replace one tooth, 2 dental implants can support a bridge, and 4-6 dental implants can support a set of dentures.
What is Required to Be a Candidate?
In order for a dental implant to be successful, there must be sufficient bone structure in your jaw. The bone needs to be a certain width and thickness for there to be enough room to place an implant. It also needs to be dense enough that the implant will not damage the bone during implantation.
Another factor is overall oral health. You must have healthy gums and your remaining teeth must be healthy before dental implants can be placed. This helps to ensure that the implant can bond effectively with the bone and that the tissues around it will be able to heal.
What Factors Can Make Someone Ineligible for Dental Implants?
The following factors may increase the chances that you will not be a candidate for dental implants:
- Your tooth or teeth have been missing for a long time. The longer your teeth have been missing, the higher the chances that the jaw bone has weakened and may not support a dental implant. In as little as 6 months the bone tissue can resorb (dissolve) in the absence of a tooth root.
- You have existing gum disease. Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums. If it goes untreated it can cause damage to the jaw bone and cause teeth to become loose and even fall out. Existing gum disease will need to be treated before you will be eligible for dental implants.
- Your other teeth show signs of decay or damage. If there are other teeth in your mouth that need restorative procedures such as fillings, root canals, or crowns, those teeth will need to be treated before you can get dental implants.
- You smoke or use chewing tobacco. Smoking and tobacco use can prevent dental implants from fusing with the bone effectively. It can also prevent the gum tissue from healing. It is in your best interest to quit these habits before getting dental implants.
What Alternative Options Are There?
If you are not an immediate candidate for dental implants, there are a few other options:
- Bone grafting. If you want dental implants but don’t have the necessary bone structure in your jaw, bone grafting can strengthen and regenerate lost bone tissue to make dental implants possible.
- Dental bridge. To replace one or a few missing teeth in a row, a bridge is an alternative option to dental implants. A bridge is a row of artificial teeth with crowns on each end that fit over the healthy teeth on either side of the gap. The healthy teeth provide the necessary support for the artificial tooth or teeth suspended between them.
Ready for Implants? Schedule an Evaluation Today
If you think dental implants would be right for you, Glassman Dental Care can perform a brief evaluation to determine if you are eligible. We will work with you to provide the best tooth replacement option for your needs.