Am I Healthy Enough For Dental Implants?
In our previous post, we discussed the advantages of dental implants over other alternatives (dentures and dental bridges). Missing teeth are much more than a simple cosmetic flaw; lost teeth also have serious physiological consequences which reduce your oral and overall health as well as your quality of life. At Dores Dental (Longmeadow, MA) we can provide you with dental implants; the only truly permanent solution for lost teeth and an end to the pain (psychologically and physically).
As much as we would like to be able to solve everyone’s tooth loss problems with dental implants (which are much more effective than dentures and bridges, the more conventional methods of treatment), but unfortunately not everyone is healthy enough to under the necessary surgical procedures to get them.
Are you healthy enough? Today, we’ll cover the basics of what makes a good candidate for dental implants, and what health issues your dentist will want to discuss with you to help you make the best decision for you. Remember, this blog post provides only a brief overview of the most important factors that come into consideration when it comes to dental implants, and if you are suffering due to missing teeth, the very best thing you can do is call us or use our online form to make an appointment for a consultation.
Who Can Get Dental Implants?
Dental implants are placed surgically, and are embedded into your jawbone, beneath your gum tissues. This is intensive surgery, and you will need to be under general anesthesia to undergo the procedure. Because of this, you must be in both good general health and have good oral health to receive dental implants. If you have a problem (mentioned in this post or otherwise), your dentist will need to address it before you can get your implants placed (if fixing the problem is possible at all).
What Does Good General Health Mean?
It isn’t necessary that you be in perfect health; you simply need to be free of serious diseases, or have them under control. Your dentist will need a full understanding of your health history to evaluate your suitability for dental implants.
The diseases that can cause complications (or even worse, implant failure) include the following:
- Autoimmune Disorders
- High Blood Pressure
- Type II Diabetes
As you might notice, many of these diseases are related to chronic inflammation; a growing body of evidence is linking chronic inflammation to a number of diseases. This includes gum disease (or periodontal disease), which is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.
What Does Good Oral Health Mean?
As we just mentioned, gum disease causes the most tooth loss in the US. Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, can be reversed relatively easily through improved oral hygiene and a cleaning from your dentist. Advanced gum disease (or periodontitis) however requires much more intensive intervention; besides tooth loss, periodontitis also considerably reduces your jaw’s bone density. This is important in the context of dental implants, because you must have sufficient bone density in your jaw to support the dental implant (without a high chance of failure).
Because most people do lose their teeth as a result of gum disease, it is often necessary to address it first before dental implants are placed. If your bone density is too low, your dentist can recommend a bone graft. A bone graft is the transplantation of bone from one part of your body to another (in this case, your jaw). This will allow you to have jaw density that is sufficient to the task of supporting your dental implant in place. In the upper jaw, you may also require a sinus lift to prepare the area to receive dental implants.
In addition to good oral and general health, there are a few other requirements:
For a number of physiological reasons, some individuals are unable to tolerate general anesthesia. Issues can range from reduced effectiveness of the anesthesia to life-threatening complications. Your dentist will want to know if you can have general anesthesia. If you can’t, you may have to consider other alternatives (while dental implants are much more effective and reliable, dentures and dental bridges are still viable solutions for tooth loss; your dentist will help you understand which option is best for you).
Children are not eligible to receive dental implants, nor are adolescents. A dental implant requires a stable environment; otherwise, failure is highly probable. In this case, a “stable environment” means a jawbone (and oral cavity) that is completely developed and no longer growing. Placing a dental implant in a person’s jaw while it is still developing is more or less the same as throwing a snowball into an oven: it just ain’t gonna make it for long.
A Non-Smoker, or Be Prepared to Quit
Besides all the other things that smoking can do to your body, smoking is a major contributor to gum disease and bruxism (also known as “teeth grinding”). Furthermore, smoking impairs your body’s ability to heal, which is critical following dental implant placement. One of the reasons why a dental implant is so permanent is because the implant actually fuses with your jawbone, undergoing a process called osseointegration.
If you are a smoker, and you are interested in dental implants, you should quit. This does not mean you can quit smoking just for the surgery; smoking can cause serious problems for you if you have dental implants (which includes failure of the implant).
Are You A Candidate? Or Are You Still Unsure?
If you would like to end the misery of lost teeth, give us a call for a consultation. We will help you understand all your tooth replacement options, and make a recommendation that is right for you and your lifestyle.
Dial 413-241-3995 today, or click here to book your appointment right now, online.