Who Is a Candidate for Dental Implants
Dental implants are a natural-looking, permanent way to replace missing teeth. For most patients that have lost their teeth, they are an excellent way to restore the smile and general functionality of their teeth. However, given that the process of fitting dental implants is a surgical procedure, patients must meet certain requirements. At Perrinville Family Dentistry, we will conduct a thorough dental exam and ascertain whether you are the right candidate for a dental implant procedure.
Lost or Damaged Teeth
At the very minimum, the patient must have lost or damaged teeth. Dental implants are used as a replacement for teeth that are beyond repair or salvage. This means they have to be extracted altogether and replaced with a new set of artificial teeth. For one to be in a position where they need dental implants, the levels of damage to their teeth must be such that they cannot be salvaged using such procedures as dental fillings, root canals, or inlays and onlays. Such situations happen when the teeth have been severely damaged after an accident, or when there has been severe decay or disease.
Nonetheless, the teeth must be in a condition where it makes sense to remove and replace them rather than repair them. This situation will be ascertained by the dentist, through physical oral exams and further scans like x-rays and 3-D imagery. Dentists also determine why the teeth are missing in the first place to recommend whether you are the perfect candidate for dental implants.
The dental implant process involves the integration of dental implant materials into the jawbone. This implies that the jawbone must be strong and healthy enough to be able to support the dental implant, the abutment, and the crown, once fitted. The natural tooth that is to be fitted onto the implant should be as strong as the natural teeth, able to withstand pressure from chewing and biting. If the jawbone is not strong enough, then the implant can easily become loose from the pressure exerted when chewing.
Luckily, dental implants can still be fitted even for patients that do not have a strong or healthy enough jawbone. There are smaller dental implants that are targeted at jawbones that are not as healthy or strong. In extreme cases, one might require jawbone grafting to help strengthen the area.
If you have suffered bone loss due to delayed tooth replacement or otherwise, then the dentist might suggest bone grafting. It is essentially the addition of bone fragments to strengthen the area where the implant will be fitted and encourage stronger integration. However, you need to realize that the grafting process takes several weeks to heal, and dental implants cannot be placed until this healing happens.
Given that it is a surgical procedure, your general health will also be important when evaluating your suitability for dental implants. Dentists will ask whether you have a history of such issues as heart disease or any autoimmune diseases. These might affect the course of treatment taken.
If you are not convinced that you are a candidate for dental implants, call Perrinville Family Dentistry today at (425) 616-0620 to schedule an appointment and talk about the possibility of receiving dental implants.