Missing teeth are never ideal, but it does happen. To avoid the consequences of missing teeth, you’ll need to consider a replacement option using restorative dentistry. While there are many types of prosthetic teeth to choose from, dental implants remain the most superior.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are titanium posts or screws that are inserted into the jawbone to act as an artificial tooth root. They can be used to replace a single missing tooth or a full arch of teeth, and your implant restoration will be based on your needs. An implant restoration is the crown, bridge or denture that is secured on top of your dental implant. In other words, it is the prosthetic tooth that you see above the gum line, but also the one that is anchored into your gums and jaw for life-like stability and comfort.
While most patients do qualify for dental implants, there are some situations and factors that can lower your chances for success. Keep in mind, however, that dental implants carry an exemplary success rate of 95%. Therefore, if a skilled implant dentist tells you that you meet the criteria for dental implants, you can be confident to go forward with this gold standard procedure.
Qualifying for Implant Dentistry
When it comes to the criteria for dental implants, there are some requirements that can be adjusted and addressed to help you qualify. Other factors may need careful consideration before you invest in implant dentistry.
In general, here are the most common pre-requisites for implant dentistry:
Missing Tooth or Teeth. First and foremost, you must have a tooth or multiple teeth that need to be replaced. This can involve one single tooth or a full arch of teeth, as dentures can also be supported by dental implants.
Adequate Bone Support. The next important factor involves the condition of your jaw bone. Your jaw will support the implant for a lifetime so it needs to have proper density, width and height. Keep in mind that bone loss can begin to occur in the first several weeks after you lose a tooth because the jaw no longer receives adequate stimulation. If you lack jaw bone support, however, you can discuss bone grafting to help you qualify for dental implants.
Over the Age of 18. Implants cannot be placed until the jaw bone has fully developed. Children who have lost permanent teeth may receive a temporary tooth until the reach the age of 18.
Good Overall Health. Dental implants involve surgery and a critical period of healing. It is imperative that your body be healthy enough to foster the entire process. There are certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, that need to be well-managed and under control before getting implants.
Non-Smoker. If you have a smoking habit, you’ll need to put an end to it for a set period of time before and after dental implant surgery. Smoking can impede oral healing and contribute to complications after surgery. This includes any oral habit that involves nicotine since this substance is a vasoconstrictor, which means it can restrict blood flow to the tissues trying to heal.
Healthy Gums. Patients with gum disease or a high risk of periodontal infection should avoid dental implants. Just like your underlying jawbone, your gums must be healthy enough to support an implant too!
Committed to Oral Health. While dental implants don’t require extra maintenance, they do demand a commitment to daily brushing and flossing as well as routine visits to the dentist. They can be cared for like your natural teeth, but they won’t last if they are neglected.
Not a Teeth Grinder. If you have a teeth grinding or teeth clenching habit (bruxism), you’ll need to take steps to address the oral habit before getting dental implants. The extra pressure and force that clenching places on your implant could lead to implant failure. A nighttime mouthguard could protect your implant investment.
Visit Group Health Dental!
The best way to determine whether you are a candidate for implant dentistry is to visit a qualified and experienced dental implant dentist. At Group Health Dental, we take pride in our ability to place successful dental implants. Schedule your consult today at our New York clinic, and we can tell you what to expect with dental implants or another restorative solution.