Do you have one or more missing teeth? You are not alone. Did you know that 120 million people in the U.S. have at least one missing tooth?

Missing teeth makes chewing more difficult and may compromise your nutrition. Lost teeth have links to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer. Replacing missing teeth can improve both your smile and your health.

Continue reading to learn more about dental implants and who is the best candidate.

What Is a Dental Implant?

Dental implants are a method of aesthetic and restorative dentistry used to replace lost teeth. This technique involves replacing the missing tooth/teeth with a permanent implant. These implants often include two to three parts.

The base is a titanium screw that’s surgically placed into the jawbone. In about six weeks, the natural bone bonds with the screw to create a stable base.

The crown is often created from a ceramic material. It’s designed to match the color and shape of your other natural teeth. This part connects to the base.

An abutment, or connector, is used with some dental implants. The abutment is placed on the part of the base that protrudes through the gum.

Some abutments are only used while the jawbone is fusing with the base. Others remain in place and secure the crown to the base.

Types of Dental Implants

There are two methods for placing dental implants. The most common approach used today is the endosteal or in the bone type.

The endosteal technique involves placing a base in the jawbone. This base is often a titanium screw. Some techniques use cylinders or blades that are surgically implanted.

Each base holds a crown. Sometimes, two implants are placed with a permanent bridge attached between them.

A less often used option is the subperiosteal approach. This involves the placement of a metal framework on top of the jawbone under the gum. Patients who can’t wear dentures or don’t have enough bone height may benefit from this method.

Factors That Determine the Best Candidate for Dental Implants

The dentist considers many factors when evaluating your risks and benefits for a dental implant.

General Health

Since the placement of implants involves surgery with anesthesia, you must have good general health. The dentist will complete a history and physical and ask about all the medication you take. They may require that you get a medical release from your primary physician.

Gum Health

The dentist will also check to ensure that no gum disease is present. If you do have gum disease, the procedure must wait until the infection is resolved. Placing a base into the jawbone when you have gum disease increases the chance of bone infection.

Once the bone becomes infected, the risk to your general health as well as implant failure increases.

Adequate Bone Density

The jawbone must hold the base. Thus, the dentist will ensure that your jawbone can support the implant. If you don’t have enough jawbone, you may need a restorative procedure completed first.

Techniques used to create a sturdy jaw structure include:

  • Bone augmentation uses bone additives and growth factors to increase the mass of the jawbone
  • Sinus augmentation or elevation adds bone tissue below the sinus area that occurs with lost upper back teeth
  • Ridge expansion increases the width of your jawbone by placing a bone graft along the top of your jaw

Oral Health

Good oral health impacts the success of the dental implant procedure. Patients who have established oral hygiene practices are ideal candidates. These practices include:

  • Tooth brushing twice a day
  • Cleaning between the teeth daily with floss or interdental brushes
  • Routine dental check-ups every six months

Maintaining good oral health is important to implant success.

Factors That Impact Dental Implant Success

No procedure has a 100% success rate. Yet, there are several ways you can decrease your risk of failure.

Do Not Smoke

Smoking inhibits your body’s ability to heal and increases the chance of implant failure. It’s best to stop smoking 6 months before the surgery to improve the permanent success of the implant.

Ask About the Benefits of a Staged Procedure

Different dentists offer various approaches to completing the dental implant. One method involves a staged treatment plan. This means that there is a healing period between each step.

Based on your unique situation, staging may provide a better outcome for you. Discuss the plan of care with your dentist. Ask about the risks and benefits involved in different treatment plans.

Nutrition

Your diet following implant surgery can impact the success of the procedure. It’s often recommended that you eat a soft diet. The post-care instructions may ask you to avoid chewing on the implant for 3 months.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet maintains your general health. This helps your immune system function properly which improves healing.

Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene is an important key to the success of your implant procedure. Regular brushing, flossing or interdental brushing, and rinsing decreases the risk of infection. Infection can damage the implant and harm your general health.

Questions to Ask Your Dentist

Never hesitate to ask questions about your healthcare. Consider making a list so that you don’t forget to ask something. Here is a list to get you started.

  • How will dental implants impact my oral and general health?
  • What are the risks of not having a dental implant procedure?
  • How long do dental implants last?
  • How much do dental implants cost?
  • Will insurance cover the cost of dental implants?
  • Does this procedure require taking time off from work?
  • Will all the procedures take place in the dental office?
  • Will this procedure be painful?

It’s important to become an active participant in your healthcare decisions.

Are You Ready to Smile Without Reservation?

If you have missing teeth, you may find yourself reluctant to smile. Dental implants offer a permanent solution for tooth replacement. This article has discussed the criteria for who is the best candidate for implants.

BlueWave Dentistry offers many options for esthetic and restorative dentistry. The staff understands that each patient has unique needs. Treatment plans reflect the patient’s personal desires and needs.

Contact us today to ask questions and make an appointment.

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