Who are Likely Candidates for Dental Implants

An estimated 125 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. If you are one of them, you are likely considering dental implants to replace the missing tooth. Dental implants are used to replace one, several, or all of the patient’s teeth. They are also considered ideal alternatives for dentures or bridges.

Likely Dental Implant Candidates

Aside from taking your dentist’s expert opinion into account, you also need to keep the following in mind to gauge if you are a good candidate for dental implants:

  • You have healthy gums
  • You have enough bone that can both support and anchor the implants (if you have lost bone in your jaw, you can still get implants to prevent further bone loss. However, you will need to undergo a grafting procedure to rebuild the bone)
  • You are committed to taking good care of the implanted teeth as well as the surrounding gums (daily flossing and brushing are deemed essential and regular visits to the dentist is also considered a must)

Depending on the severity and extent of the condition, some patients might still be good candidates for dental implants even if they have the following conditions:

  • People who take certain medications or drugs that suppress the immune system
  • People who clench or grind their teeth severely (these habits can put significant pressure on the implants and can increase the risk of failure

Unlikely Dental Implant Candidates

People who are not good candidates for dental implants include:

  • Young individuals whose jaw bones are still developing
  • Pregnant women
  • Heavy smokers (smoking can hinder mouth healing and can therefore significantly minimise the possibility of a successful implant)
  • Substance or alcohol abusers
  • People who have received radiation treatment in their neck or head
  • People with system problems or chronic diseases (i.e. connective-tissue diseases, uncontrolled diabetes, hemophilia, and other significant immune deficiencies)

Dental Implant Evaluation

Typically, dental implant therapy is a team effort. A dental specialist will be the one to place the implant or implants. This dental specialist can be a periodontist, an oral surgeon, or a general dentist that’s trained in implant replacement

From there, a restorative dentist will take over. A restorative dentist is usually a prosthodontist or a general dentist. The restorative dentist will make the bridges, crowns, or dentures the implant or implants will support.

Before dental implants are considered, a thorough evaluation needs to be conducted to assess if dental implants is indeed the ideal option.

The initial evaluation will typically involve an examination of the teeth and mouth as well as a meticulous review of both the medical and dental histories. An X-ray of the mouth will also be requested.

In addition, a computed tomography or CT scan may also be required.  The CT scan will provide dentists with accurate information on the amount of bone in the jaw and its shape. It will also give a clear picture of where the sinuses and the nerves are.

Once all the key information and factors have been taken into consideration, you dentist will discuss the best options available at your disposal. Typically, the procedure, cost, and the possible complications will also be discussed with you so you can take all things into account.

From there, your dentist will also develop a treatment plant that will best suit both your needs and preferences.