If you are one of the millions of Americans who are missing one tooth or more, then you may be eligible for dental implants. Dental implants are advisable to prevent bone deterioration and are perhaps the most durable of all dental restorations. However, having a missing tooth is not the only factor to consider. In this article, we will go over the points that affect your eligibility for dental implants.
About dental implants
Dental implants are inserted into the jawbone, and a crown is placed atop the implant to fill the space of a missing tooth. Because of the way an implant functions in the mouth, there are certain things that might contribute to someone not being a candidate for them. The dental professional will help determine if you are a candidate or not at the initial consultation.
The first stage of determining your eligibility starts with an appointment with a dental professional for an evaluation. This person will be responsible for coordinating your treatment with other professionals, as required. The initial assessment will involve examining your mouth and teeth and a comprehensive review of your dental and general health records.
The dentist will perform X-ray scans of the teeth and sometimes, a computed tomography (CT) scan. This is to gain information about the bone mass in your jaw and the location of the nerves and sinuses to make a concise assessment for the procedure. Your overall health history and oral health play a crucial role in how well and fast the implant will heal and integrate with the bone.
Without sufficient bone structure, the dental implants will not have the required support to stay firmly rooted in the jaw. This may not disqualify you as the dentist may perform a bone graft to increase bone density. This usually means extracting bone material from other parts of the body and placing it in the jaw. The dentist will inform you if you are eligible for a bone graft.
Factors which affect the success of dental implants
Certain factors such as pregnancy, smoking, cancer, uncontrolled diabetes, untreated gum disease, alcoholism and radiation to the jaw can negatively affect the success of the dental implant procedure. While you may still be eligible if you have one of these issues, the dentist must first assess your condition thoroughly and treat the underlying condition to ensure proper functioning before embarking on the implant procedure.
People who are on medications such as steroids and immunosuppressants may not be suitable candidates, either. If you have the habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, the pressure may affect the implants and cause damages. You may also not be eligible if your jawbones are still developing.
The bottom line
During your consultation, your dentist will discuss the available options with you, including the procedure, costs and potential complications. If you are a candidate for a dental implant, you must be ready to commit to an excellent oral care routine to ensure the success of the procedure.
Generally, dental implants have a high success rate, and most patients are usually pleased with the outcome. If you are missing a tooth, contact a dentist for an evaluation, and they will prepare a suitable treatment plan for your needs.
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