Dental implants have quickly become the preferred solution for missing teeth. While bridges and dentures replace the visible portion of a tooth that has been lost, only a dental implant can also address tooth loss below the gum line by replacing the root. Unfortunately, not everyone is a candidate for dental implants—but the good news is that even if you’re not, that doesn’t mean you never will be. Here’s how to know if you’re a good candidate for dental implants.
The Ideal Candidate for Dental Implants
When you come in for a consultation about dental implants, we’ll look at a few different factors to determine your candidacy for dental implant surgery, including:
Good Oral Health
To maximize your chances of successful dental implant placement, we want to make sure your remaining teeth and gums are healthy. We can’t move forward with dental implants until your other dental issues are resolved. If you have active gum disease, it will need to be treated; if you have cavities, they will need to be filled.
Good Overall Health
Dental implant surgery is a relatively minor procedure, but it’s still a surgery, which means there are risks involved. To ensure your safety, we’ll go over your medical history to determine if you are at risk of infection or other complications.
Sufficient Jawbone Support
The third factor we’ll look at is the density of your jawbone. When you’ve lost teeth, the bone in your jaw can begin to break down. This may mean that you don’t have the support needed for successful dental implant placement. One of the leading causes of dental implant failure is a lack of sufficient jawbone support.
Factors That Could Delay or Disqualify You From Dental Implant Surgery
If you have any of these factors, you may not be eligible for dental implant surgery or it may need to be delayed.
Smoking and the use of tobacco products can increase your risk of dental implant failure and infection. For best results, smoking cessation should be a part of the plan. We will ask that you quit smoking before your surgery and that you don’t start smoking again afterwards.
Certain Health Conditions
It’s not necessary to be in perfect health in order to get dental implant surgery, but you shouldn’t have any health conditions that impact your tolerance of a minor surgical procedure, your risk of infection, or your body’s ability to heal.
Lack of Jawbone Support
If you don’t have adequate jawbone support, we won’t be able to move forward with dental implants. It’s very common for patients who come in for dental implants not to have the bone density needed, either due to tooth loss or periodontal disease.
There may be some alternative dental implant techniques that you are still eligible for because they don’t require as much bone support as traditional implants. If not, you can have bone grafting or a sinus lift to restore your bone structure so you can get dental implants. This adds a little bit of time to the process, but the results will be worth it!