Missing teeth are far more common than you might expect. Around 178 million individuals in the U.S. are missing a minimum of one tooth. And, around 40 million have all their teeth missing. As you become older, the issue becomes worse as 30% of individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 have no natural teeth.
If you’re dealing with missing teeth, you may be wondering if dental implants are a good tooth replacement solution. It’s important that you realize, not all people make a good dental implants candidate, which is why we have listed some of the essential factors that most good candidates share.
Should you Get Dental Implants to Replace Missing Teeth?
A dental implant is a medical device that your dentist surgically implants into your jawbone to replace missing teeth and restore your appearance and/or ability to chew. They provide the required support for artificial teeth, such as dentures, bridges, or crowns.
If you’re missing teeth, it’s important to have them replaced. By not replacing your missing teeth, chewing and eating can become difficult and uncomfortable. You could experience complications like defective speech or rapid bone loss. It can destabilize your bite and cause your mouth to shift. Individuals with missing teeth often appear older than they really are.
Implants are often the best option to replace missing teeth since they don’t affect your other teeth like a traditional bridge does. With traditional bridges, the dentist will grind down the teeth adjacent to the empty space so they can attach a fake tooth. They’re often the best choice to replace missing teeth when dentures and bridges don’t work. Dental implants will also help protect your jawbone, which is something dentures and bridges can’t do.
Since every person has their own unique situation, you’ll need to sit down with your dentist for an initial consultation to discuss your individual needs. They’ll take X-rays and provide you with a thorough dental exam to see if dental implants is the ideal tooth replacement option for you and if you’re a good candidate.
Are You a Suitable Dental Implants Candidate?
As mentioned, dental implants aren’t suitable for all people with missing teeth. There are certain factors, like bone health, that can impact this treatment’s success. This is why it’s important to work with an experienced dentist to evaluate your overall health to qualify you as a potential candidate for implants.
1. Good Oral Health
Your teeth and oral health should be in good condition prior to getting a dental implant. Since surgery is involved with dental implants, things like gum disease and infections can reduce your chances of successful implant placement.
When it comes to implants, your dentist must ensure the rest of your mouth is in good health. They may recommend treatment that optimizes your oral health before they clear you for the dental implant procedure. Before moving forward with implants, dentists always address any immediate oral issues first to get the patient to optimal oral health. This could include clearing up any active infections or giving them a routine cleaning.
2. Post-Implant Oral Hygiene Commitment
After your dentist places your implants, it’s important that you brush and floss your teeth regularly. You’ll also need to schedule appointments for:
Making that commitment to routine dental check-ups and cleanings and proper home care is vital to the success of your implants. Depending on which procedure you received, you might need to visit the dentist more frequently than you usually do.
With healthy dental implants, you will generally schedule an appointment every six months with your dentist. Your dentist may have you return to their office every three to four months if you’ve undergone a major reconstruction.
3. Minimize Jawbone Pressure
Typically, dental implants require approximately six months before they will fuse with the jawbone. While you’re in this “healing process”, it’s essential that you engage in minimal bruxism (minimize how much pressure you’re exerting on your healing jawbone).
Therefore, if you tend to clench or grind your teeth, you’ll be putting a great deal of pressure on your dental implants, and this can result in implant failure. Let your dentist know if you grind or clench your teeth. They’ll fit you with a custom-fitted night guard to help protect your teeth and healing jawbone.
4. Good Medical Health
To be a good dental implants candidate, you’ll need to be in good medical health. Let your dentist know of any medications you’re currently taking and provide them with your medical history.
If you struggle with any mild disease, such as diabetes, you’ll need to have it under control. There are certain conditions that can keep you from properly healing, like uncontrolled diabetes. Other conditions, like a heart attack, stroke, or other recent cardiac event, will postpone your dental implant procedure until a later date.
5. No Use of Tobacco Products
Whether you smoke cigarettes or use other types of tobacco products, it could warrant you ineligible for dental implant surgery. Patients are advised to stop tobacco use if they’re looking into implants.
Tobacco is already not good for you, but it also contains specific compounds that keep your immune system from functioning properly. Because of this, healing from your implant procedure can take longer than you expect. It can also lead to an infection that substantially reduces your chances of a successful dental implant procedure. In fact, tobacco negatively impacts the outcome of nearly any therapeutic oral cavity procedure.
6. Adequate Bone Density
Another critical component of the success of implants is bone density. Your dentist inserts the implants into your jawbone. So, it’s necessary for you to have an adequate amount of healthy bone since it provides your implants with the necessary protection and support they need.
You need a strong jaw for your dentist to anchor your implants. But, if you don’t have sufficient bone, it causes your implants to become shaky, potentially leading to infection. Your dentist may use a process known as “grafting” to assist bone growth where it’s required. They place artificial bone into the deficient areas.
In some cases, a dentist may use something referred to as a “membrane” that holds your graft in place. Then, your body will turn this graft over and start growing it into its own bone.
Schedule your Dental Implant Appointment with Summit Dentistry Spokane Today
Overall, implants tend to have a high success rate and patients inform us of how satisfied they are with the procedure and outcome. If you’re missing teeth and are looking for an option that leaves you with realistic looking teeth that stay in place and allow you to smile, laugh, and eat with confidence, dental implants are the ideal choice! Summit Dentistry Spokane will provide you with a comprehensive exam to determine if you’re a good dental implants candidate. Contact us today to schedule your appointment for dental implants.