When you want to have missing teeth replaced, you don’t necessarily need to resort to dentures. Dental implants offer a more comfortable way to replace teeth that you’ve lost from decay, trauma or other dental problems. However, not everyone is a suitable candidate for them.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a titanium post that goes into your jawbone. After the bone fuses to the post, your dentist attaches a connecting piece to it and places a replacement tooth on it. Dental implants hold artificial teeth in place securely, so you don’t have to worry about them falling out. These implants are simple to care for and help you chew and speak more easily, which can be difficult with missing teeth.
Good candidates for dental implants
Having one or more missing teeth isn’t the only requirement for being a suitable candidate. In order for dental implants to work for you, you’ll also need to meet the following requirements:
- Have gums that are in good health
- Have enough bone for holding a dental implant inside your jaw securely
Keep in mind that if you do not have enough bone, your dentist will need to use bone grafts to fill out your jawbone. This helps ensure that your dental implants will remain in place.
Although dental implants do not require special care as dentures do, you’ll still need to take care of them by brushing and flossing at least twice per day. This helps keep your artificial teeth clean and lowers the risk of developing gum disease or other dental problems that might affect your implants.
Areas of concern
Your dentist might recommend another form of treatment instead of a dental implant if you have one or more of the following:
- Are currently pregnant
- Are young enough to have a jawbone that is still growing
- Are a heavy smoker, since smoking interferes with your jaw’s ability to heal
- Have a chronic disease or medical problem that might affect healing, such as diabetes that is not controlled or an immune deficiency
- Take medication that suppresses your immune system
- Have a habit of grinding your teeth, which could damage dental implants.
If you are considering dental implants, your dentist will thoroughly evaluate you in order to determine if you are a good candidate. If you are not a suitable candidate, your dentist will discuss other options with you.