Tooth loss is a common occurrence. From acute accidents like falling and losing a tooth to chronic diseases like periodontal disease, most adults will experience some form of tooth loss in their lifetime. Because missing teeth can affect self-confidence, speech, the shape of one’s face, and overall oral health, it is important to seek out treatment for the loss of teeth.
Reasons for Dental Implants
There are many reasons why someone would seek out a dental implant instead of a bridge or dentures. Not only are implants easier to maintain than dentures, they are also much more comfortable and do not require removing false teeth to eat certain foods. Additionally, dental implants preserve facial structure, can improve speech, are more comfortable than other teeth replacements, and protect the gums. With a 98% success rate, it is no surprise that many people turn to dental implants when they experience tooth loss.
What Are Dental Implants?
For over thirty years, dental implants have been commonplace in dental offices. They are the closest one can get to having natural teeth. In natural teeth, roots connect teeth to the jawbone. This keeps them healthy and stable. Dental implants mimic a natural teeth but instead of roots, implants have screws. These screws are placed into and bond with the jawbone. Implants act as bases for crowns, custom-made artificial teeth that mimic your natural teeth.
Are You Eligible for Dental Implants?
When determining your eligibility, there are certain factors that your dentist will look for to see if dental implants are the right course of treatment for you. These factors include:
- Adequate bone density is needed to ensure that your implant can fuse with your jawbone. This is one of the most important factors that your dentist will consider. Children, for example, are usually not eligible for dental implants because their bones are still developing and are not dense enough to hold an implant in place.
- Because receiving an implant is a surgical procedure, you need to be in good, overall health. Smokers, those that drink excessively, those that suffer from diabetes, and those who are on certain medications may not be eligible to receive dental implants as the body may reject the implants.
- Those with periodontal disease are not eligible for dental implants. Strong gums are needed to ensure that your implant does not move, shift, or fall out when it is fusing to your jawbone. If you have periodontal disease, you dentist will likely postpone your procedure until your gums are strong enough to support a dental implant.
- If you are not in the habit of brushing and flossing daily, as well as routinely visiting your dentist, you will not be able to keep your implant clean.
- The medical term for teeth clenching is bruxism. If you suffer from bruxism, you can fracture your crown and damage your implant.
Questions You Should Ask
When speaking with your dentist about whether or not you are eligible for dental implants, consider asking him or her some additional questions in order to give you some peace of mind. Good questions to ask are:
- How long has he or she performed dental implant surgery?
- Is local or general anesthesia used?
- Can you return to work after the procedure?
- Should you avoid certain foods after the procedure?
- Will you be performing the procedure, or will an onsite oral surgeon or periodontist perform the procedure?
- What is your overall success rate?
- How long does the discomfort last following the procedure?
- How many phases are there?
- If this requires more than one phase, how long does each phase take?
- What do you need to do prior to the procedure?
Dentists welcome questions from their patients. Do not be afraid to ask about the procedure and to express any concerns you may have about the overall process. Remember that brushing and flossing your teeth daily, and visiting your dentist for routine check-ups, is the best thing that you can do to ensure that your mouth and teeth are happy and healthy. Dental implants are built to last. With some daily TLC, you should be able to preserve your implants for years to come.