If you're living with a missing tooth, then you may have heard about dental implants. A dental implant is a permanently fixed artificial tooth. For many, this may seem like a dream come true, but there are certain factors that decide whether or not the operation is right for you. Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering dental implants.
What you need:
Most healthy individuals with good oral hygiene will be fine candidates for the surgery, but there are two things that are crucial to the procedure's success—healthy gums and bones.
- Healthy gums – Having healthy gums may be more difficult than you think. Nearly half of all Americans over the age of 30 have periodontal (gum) disease. Some gum diseases such as gingivitis are common, but can be easily treated. If you experience a lot of bleeding while flossing, ask your dentist how to strengthen your gums before looking into a dental implant procedure.
- Little to no bone loss – Because the dental implant is drilled into the jaw bone, your bones need to be in good shape. After you lose a tooth, bone deterioration can occur. A dentist can give you x-rays to see the shape of your oral bones.
What may cause problems:
- Placement – Some places accommodate dental implants better than others. Implants placed in the lower jaw tend to be more successful than one placed in the upper, though both can be done. If you grind you jaw, the implants are also at higher risk of failure no matter where they are placed.
- Smoking and diabetes – People who have smoked for many years or have diabetes are at higher risk for gum and other mouth problems, which can cause complications with dental implants.
- Heart disease – Individuals with uncontrolled chronic diseases such as heart disease also may not be suitable candidates for the surgery.
- Radiation therapy patients – Radiation to the upper torso and head can potentially cause unseen damage to the area, such as weaken joints and bones that can hinder the surgical process.
In all of these situations, a professional cosmetic dentist should be contacted to assess the individual patient's situation.
If you feel that you would be a good candidate for this procedure, contact cosmetic dentists in your area to set up a consultation and learn more about whether or not dental implants are right for you.