5 Characteristics of a Good Dental Implant Candidate
Are You a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
If you are thinking about getting dental implants, you may wonder how you know if they are the right choice. While a dental surgeon is best qualified to judge which patients can benefit from dental implants, there are some basic criteria that can help you decide whether you are a good candidate.
Dental implants might be the right choice for you if you:
1. Have healthy gums.
Implants are more vulnerable to gum inflammation than natural teeth. If plaque builds up and creates an infection, the gum can detach from the implant creating pockets where harmful bacteria can collect.
Once your implants are in place, gum disease can produce bacteria that may attack the bone in the jaw supporting your implants. For dental implants to be successful, they need to remain firmly anchored in the jawbone.
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2. Are committed to dental health.
The success of your implants depends on regular dental hygiene to maintain the health of your implants and surrounding gums. If you have developed good habits before getting implants, you have a better chance of continuing these habits after the procedure.
Like natural teeth, dental implants need to be brushed twice a day. Flossing and using mouthwash help to fight bacteria that might compromise the surrounding teeth and gums.
3. Have sufficient bone to support your implants.
Implants need to be anchored to the jawbone. Fusion with the jawbone ensures that your implants stay in place firmly and permanently. Over time, tooth loss weakens and shrinks the jawbone so it can no longer support an implant.The good news is that even if you don’t have enough bone left in your jaw, your dental surgeon can provide supplementary bone grafts. These grafts encourage bone growth, which creates more area for implant placement. You can learn more about bone grafts and if you might need them by reading our blog,
4. Are free from Chronic Disease.
Chronic diseases can create risks for dental implant patients. For instance, patients with diabetes have been found to have a higher rate of dental implant failure, with a US study showing only a 94.3% success rate at the second stage of the procedure. This compares to an overall 98% success rate. Diabetes contributes to cavities and gum disease, as well as higher levels of glucose in the saliva. Diabetes also interferes with the process of fusion between the implant and the jawbone and slows healing.
Other chronic conditions can create complications during surgery. Heart disease and sleep apnea can interfere with anesthesia. Even teeth grinding can interfere with healing, so dental splints may be provided to curb the behavior.
5. Don’t drink alcohol excessively or smoke.
Drinking alcohol can interfere with healing after dental implant surgery by leading to dry mouth and inhibiting the clotting of blood. Over time, drinking alcohol can also lead to bone loss which makes implants difficult to place.
Smoking increases the risk of gum disease and slows healing, putting your implants in jeopardy. Smoking before surgery can contribute to bone loss, making the implants difficult if not impossible to place. If the patient continues to smoke after surgery, the soft tissues around the implant may not regenerate and the implant may fail to fuse with the jawbone, resulting in an implant failure.
Starting Off on the Right Foot
The best candidates for dental implants have established good habits before surgery. These good habits create a foundation for following the surgeon’s post-procedure guidelines. Throughout the first year after the procedure, the patient needs to continue to meet with the surgeon regularly for follow-up appointments to catch any complications.
If you are healthy and take care of your teeth, dental implants could be for you. Even if you don’t meet all the criteria on this list, you can still make changes that improve your chances of having a successful procedure.
Do you fit the criteria of a good dental implant candidate? If so, schedule a consultation with Cumberland Surgical Arts today.
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