3 Requirements for Dental Implants, the Gold Standard in Tooth Replacement
Determining Factors for Dental Implant Candidacy
In many cases, dental implants are the preferred solution for missing teeth compared to other options, such as traditional dentures. However, that doesn’t mean they’re right for everyone.
There are many factors at play when you’re considering implants vs. dentures, but these 3 requirements tend to be especially important:
1. Your Age
Your age can play a major role in finding the right choice for your tooth replacement. However, it might not be in the way you think. While some people are concerned about being “too old” for dental implants, the real issue is being too young.
Tooth implants rely on the jawbone for a solid foundation. This means that patients must have reached full jawbone maturity before dental implant placement. Any implant in a still-developing jawbone can shift and move as the bone grows, leading to misalignment or even implant failure.
This is why dental implants aren’t suitable for children or even teens. Your jawbone can continue to develop until around the age of 20. If you are under age 20, you may need a temporary replacement option, such as a partial denture, to replace missing teeth until you’re ready for implant placement.
There isn’t any strict upper age limit for dental implants. In theory, patients of any age could receive them. However, a variety of health issues that can affect your candidacy for dental implants become more common with age.
2. The State of Your Health
There are a variety of health conditions that can affect whether dental implants are the right choice to replace missing teeth in your specific case. Implant placement is a surgical procedure, so many conditions that generally contraindicate surgery can similarly prohibit you from getting dental implants.
Various heart conditions, uncontrolled high blood pressure, and other health concerns that make surgery inadvisable could stop your dentist from recommending dental implants. Diabetes, in particular, is a major concern, although properly regulating diabetes through insulin use, diet, and exercise can allow for implant placement to proceed.
Conditions that affect bone tissue are also potential issues. A healthy jawbone will naturally integrate with dental implants during the healing process, creating an incredibly strong bond. However, conditions such as osteoporosis or certain cancers can impact that ability to heal. This greatly increases the risk of implant failure.
Your oral health is key as well. Preventing infection and maintaining optimal oral health are top priorities during implant placement and recovery. If you currently show signs of gum disease, your dentist will likely delay the procedure until that condition is dealt with.
3. Your Jawbone Density
Dental implants use the jawbone as a foundation. The screwlike base of the implant is embedded in the jawbone and integrates with bone tissue during recovery. However, this process is only effective when your jawbone is strong, healthy, and large enough.
Most patients have sufficient jawbone density to support dental implants. But patients who have had missing teeth for years often experience jawbone deterioration. Without the stimulation of natural tooth roots, the jawbone weakens and shrinks. This is true even if the patient has dentures, as they don’t do anything to stimulate the jawbone itself.
If you’ve experienced jawbone deterioration or simply have a particularly small jawbone, you may not be a good candidate for dental implants. However, there are often options available.
For example, bone grafting is a surgical treatment that augments the jawbone to support dental implants. This will extend your treatment timeline but can make dental implants possible in many cases.
Other Options To Restore Your Smile
If you aren’t a good candidate for dental implants, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to restore your smile. There are many other restorative dentistry options that could be suitable for your situation.
Dental bridges are a great option to replace a single missing tooth. They rely on the two surrounding natural teeth for support, bridging the gap. While this requires reducing the two natural teeth so the bridge can fit over them, it can restore your smile and help prevent long-term oral health issues.
In cases of multiple missing teeth, both full and partial dentures are effective options depending on the situation. While dental implants do provide ideal stability, dentures are still a considerable improvement over simply living with missing teeth. You can enjoy a full smile and improve your ability to eat and speak.
Find out whether dental implants are right for you.
Many factors can affect your candidacy for dental implants. The only way to know for sure if this option is right for you is to talk with your dentist about your treatment options. Dental Care Associates of Buffalo offers a full range of restorative and prosthodontic solutions near Buffalo, Minnesota. Our friendly team provides gentle, expert dental care for the whole family. Schedule a consultation today to see how we can help you.