Who Is an Implant Candidate?
If you're interested in replacing your missing teeth, or a single missing tooth, dental implants may be an option for you. Not everybody, however, is a good candidate for implants.A good candidate should have the following:
- • Healthy, disease-free gum tissuesThe remainder of the teeth and gums needs to be stable in order to put in dental implants which are likely to work. If there are other areas of the mouth with dental decay, broken teeth, or gum disease these will need to be treated first before implants are placed.
- • Enough dense, healthy jawbone in a mouth Without the right amount of bone in the right place, it is difficult to place implants. In cases where sufficient bone is not available a range of grafting techniques can be used.
- • Keeping the gums and bone around the Implant healthy The success of implants can depend on the ability of the patient to keep their teeth and gums clean. We need to be sure this will take place before implants are placed. We will always advise you on how to care for your mouth to allow you to have implants, and also how to care for your new teeth. Your commitment will be to follow our advice and should return regularly to your dentist for checkups, because any problems that might threaten the health of the implant must be corrected.
- • Young patients whose jawbones have not developed completely
- • Pregnant women
- • Heavy smokers — Smoking impedes healing in the mouth and can reduce the likelihood that implants will be successful.
- • Alcohol or substance abusers
- • Patients who have received high-dose irradiation of their head or neck
- • People with chronic diseases or systemic problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, connective-tissue diseases, hemophilia and significant immune deficiencies, among others — You still may be a good candidate for implants even if you have one of these conditions. It depends on the extent and severity of the condition.
- • Patients who take certain medications such as steroids or drugs that suppress the immune system
- • People who severely grind or clench their teeth — These habits can place too much pressure on the implants and increase the risk of failure.
Implant therapy involves a team that includes the surgeon (usually an oral surgeon or a periodontist) who places the implant or implants, and the restorative dentist (a general dentist or prosthodontist) who specializes in making crowns and bridges. The restorative dentist will make the crowns, bridges or dentures that will be supported by the implant or implants. The first step in your treatment is to make an appointment with us for an evaluation.
Your initial evaluation will include an examination of your mouth and teeth and a thorough review of your medical and dental histories. You mouth will be X-rayed, and you might have a computed tomography (CT) scan, which will provide information on your bone density (how much bone you have in your jaw) and the shape of your jaw.
Finally, we will discuss the options available to you, talk about the procedure, and its cost and possible complications. We will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is customized to your particular needs and preferences.