Am I A Candidate for Dental Implants?
Dental implants are the highest quality tooth replacement option in dentistry. They provide a natural looking, functional replacement for teeth that are missing or beyond repair. Dental implants can also provide stable support for other prosthetics, such as bridges and dentures.
Due to their popularity and many benefits, dental implants are requested by the majority of patients to replace teeth. But not everyone is a candidate for dental implants in their current state of health. You may be wondering, am I a candidate for dental implants? The only way to know for sure is to have a professional evaluation. Here’s what dentists look for to determine dental implant eligibility.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
To understand what it takes to be a candidate for dental implants, it helps to understand how dental implants work. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically placed in the bone of your jaw where a tooth is missing or has been extracted. Implants are made of titanium, a biocompatible material that fuses with the bone through a process called osseointegration. Once the fusion is complete it forms a solid bond that can last a lifetime. The prosthetic portion of the implant is attached later on.
One dental implant can replace a single tooth with a crown. Two dental implants can support a bridge. Multiple dental implants (4-6) can support a full denture.
What Makes Someone a Candidate for Dental Implants?
To be a candidate for dental implants, you must meet the following criteria:
- You have one or more teeth that are missing or beyond repair.
- The bone in your jaw is wide enough at the site where the dental implant will be placed for adequate space.
- The bone in your jaw is strong enough at the site to support a dental implant.
- Your gums are healthy with no signs of gum disease.
- Your overall health is good.
- You don’t suffer from osteoporosis or other diseases that weaken the bone.
How Can I Become a Candidate for Dental Implants?
If you are not currently a candidate for dental implants due to any one or a combination of the above criteria, you may still have options. There are ways to treat and correct the issues that are preventing you from being ready for dental implants at this time.
- Bone grafting. If your tooth or teeth have been missing for a while, the portion of the jaw that once supported it will have weakened and may have even resorbed (dissolved). A bone graft procedure can help rebuild the bone so that it can support a dental implant. The procedure involves placing a bone fragment under the gums on top of the existing bone. This not only thickens the bone, but encourages regeneration of the natural bone tissue.
- Sinus lift. A sinus lift is similar to a bone graft, but it is done in the upper jaw to make room for a dental implant to be placed. If the bone in the upper jaw is too thin, a dental implant could go through the bone and puncture the sinus cavity. A sinus lift places bone material over the existing bone to thicken it and lift the sinus cavity up.
- Periodontal treatment. If gum disease is keeping you from being eligible for a dental implant, periodontal treatment can remove the source of the infection and allow the gum tissue to heal. If there is any damage to the jaw bone from severe gum disease, a bone graft can also help in this situation.
- Treatment for other health conditions. If there are other health conditions that are preventing you from getting dental implants, seek treatment from your primary care physician.
Where Can I Get a Dental Implant Evaluation?
If you’re interested in dental implants, Leading Edge Specialized Dentistry can perform a brief evaluation to determine whether or not you are a candidate for dental implants. We also provide preparatory treatments and procedures to help you reach the point where dental implants are an option for you. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to receive the best tooth replacement option available.