If you are wondering about getting a dental implant to replace your missing teeth, it may have already occurred to you if you are eligible or not from a medical point of view. In this part of our blog series written on the various aspects of dental implants we would like to clear things up regarding your concerns whether you are the perfect candidate for a brand new, confident and improved smile.
Needless to say, that dental implants provide the most stable and effective solution when it comes to tooth replacement options, but you might also want to consider your own health conditions and general habits before giving it a go.
Good oral hygiene
Most healthy individuals who are firmly committed to good oral hygiene are suitable candidates for dental implantation. It is important to emphasize at this point that this commitment needs to be taken seriously, since a healthy surrounding gum is the cornerstone of the longevity of your dental implants. Taking very good care of the implanted teeth implies daily, thorough brushing together with flossing and regular visits to your dentist for the necessary follow-up.
In case you are interested in learning more on how to acquire good oral health habits before undergoing the oral surgical procedure, check out the next part of our series containing further information here.
Sufficient bone mass
It is also essential to have an adequate amount of jawbone that properly supports the dental implant and provides long-term stability for the tooth replacement. In order for the bone to anchor the implant in the jaw securely, it has to be thick, firm and dense. If you lack an ample bone mass, the dental implant may not be able to withstand the forces of chewing and it may result in the eventual failure of the tooth replacement.
But how do you know if you adhere to these criteria of dental implant candidacy? How can you estimate whether you have sufficient bone structure and density in your jaw to accommodate the implant?
Your bone mass can be assessed based on the combination of a dental panoramic X-ray and a CT scan that shows a 3D view of the volume of the jawbone and allows the dentist to decide if there is need for bone grafting or sinus lift. This basically means that although some people may have lost bone in their jaw but they still qualify for dental implants after having their bone replaced.
However, there are certain contraindications that may increase the risk of failure in the placement of dental implants, therefore your dentist – together with an oral surgeon – will evaluate the extent and severity of your personal medical conditions before you undergo the surgery. This initial evaluation includes checking your teeth and gums, your dental history and general health state, so belonging to any of the following cases does not make it impossible for you to be a dental implant candidate:
Active periodontal disease
It is one of the most common issues that impact dental implant treatments, since it may be the primary cause of tooth and eventual jawbone loss. Severe and active gum disease, therefore, needs to be treated prior to the placement of dental implants and once you have successfully undergone the necessary treatment, you may carry on with your dental implant procedure.
It not only reduces the chances of the successful placement of dental implants, but can also hinder the subsequent healing process – thus increasing the risk of failure of the tooth replacement. This is due to the fact, that smoking restricts the blood flow to gum tissues surrounding the implants, making it more complicated for the implants to integrate with the bone.
Non-smokers or those who are willing to give up their smoking habit, on the other hand, are more likely to maintain the necessary good oral hygiene which is especially important if you undergo bone grafting.
Grinding of the teeth (bruxism)
It is a habit that can place too much pressure on the dental implants and result in their eventual failure. If you tend to grind or clinch your teeth, a mouthguard or nightguard is given to prevent chipping of your crowns that are anchored to the dental implants.
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