Am I A Candidate For Dental Implants?

Tooth loss is an extremely common problem that will affect most adults at some point during their lifetime. In fact, the older we get, the more likely we are to lose teeth to damage, decay or periodontal disease. While you may find it possible to live with one or two missing teeth, the fact remains that, depending on their location, gaps in your smile can affect both how you use your teeth and the appearance of your smile. The latter is something that many people are conscious of since missing teeth are associated with poor dental hygiene – something that no one wants to admit to. Feeling embarrassed and self-conscious, many patients with missing teeth try their best to avoid smiling in public or doing anything that might draw attention to their teeth.

The good news is that if you have lost a tooth, you don’t need to live with a gap in your smile forever. There are several different possible restorative treatments available, including a fairly new and revolutionary tooth replacement procedure known as dental implants.

Patient smiling with dentists

What are dental implants?

Dental implants use a prosthetic tooth, usually made from a porcelain or porcelain fused to metal crown, to fill the gap in your smile. This artificial tooth is attached to a titanium post which has been inserted into your jaw bone via your gum directly under where the gap is. Once it has been implanted, the bone grows around the post, anchoring it permanently in place. This creates an extremely secure foundation for the visible portion of the tooth, which looks and feels as if it were completely natural.

Dental implants offer patients a variety of valuable benefits including convenience, discretion and the most natural appearance of any similar dental restoration.

Am I a candidate for dental implants?

Dental implants have the highest success rate of any surgically implanted device in the world. Nevertheless, this doesn’t automatically make them the best solution for every patient. Therefore, it is necessary to assess the candidacy of each patient before they can be approved for dental implants.

The assessment process involves several elements. These include:

A physical assessment of the condition of your teeth. This is important because some patients may need additional dental work before they can have dental implant surgery. This is particularly true if you have periodontal disease, as this can pose a serious threat to the success of your procedure.

Images of your teeth. The part of the teeth that is visible to the naked eye can only reveal so much about a person’s oral health. Therefore, our dentist will almost certainly request that you have x-rays or CT images which will allow for a more accurate assessment of the condition of your teeth and jaw.

Assessing the quality of your jaw bone. The dentist and quality of your jaw bone is absolutely crucial to the success of your procedure. This is because the bone grows around the titanium implant post to secure it permanently in place. This is known as osseointegration. However, if your natural jawbone is poor quality or not sufficient density, the implant will almost certainly fail. Some patients may be eligible for jaw bone grafting which improves the thickness and quality of the bone. This process involves taking bone from another part of your body and attaching it to your jaw in the area that requires attention. If our dental implant surgeon thinks that you would benefit from bone grafting, this will be discussed with you in detail.

Taking your lifestyle into account

There is an element of risk associated for anyone who undergoes dental implant surgery. However, certain lifestyle factors can increase the likelihood of complications, sometimes to such a degree where the patient is no longer considered a candidate for the procedure. Some of these patients include those who:

- Smoke

- Are trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding

- Are still growing and as such, their jaw bone is not finished developing

- Have been diagnosed with certain health problems such as diabetes, haemophilia and auto-immune disorders.

If you are interested in finding out more about dental implants, or you would like to arrange a consultation to discuss your candidacy, please do not hesitate to contact our offices to speak to our professional and highly knowledgeable team.