Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants
No one should have to live with missing teeth that cause cosmetic, functional, or oral health issues. In most cases, many people with missing teeth find dental implants to be a long-term solution. It is helpful to understand who makes an ideal candidate for dental implants and what factors you should consider when choosing the right teeth replacement solution.
An Overview of Dental Implants
According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, more than three million Americans have dental implants, and the number continually grows by approximately 500 thousand each year. Dental implants are small titanium posts that are placed into the jawbone to serve as the root of a replacement tooth. The titanium posts are later topped with the replacement tooth or teeth usually in the form of a crown, bridge, or denture.
Individuals with missing or severely damaged teeth can achieve a more attractive smile and restore their oral health and function to an ideal level through dental implants. Unlike with dentures, there are no messy gluing and cleaning procedures and they do not have to be taken out at night. They are the tooth replacement option that most closely resembles the function of natural teeth.
“Individuals with missing or severely damaged teeth can achieve a more attractive smile and restore their oral health and function to an ideal level through dental implants.”
▣ Possible Dental Implant Options
According to the American Dental Association, implants are one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past four decades. Along with helping to restore functionality and completing a set of teeth, dental implants can also help restore the appearance of a natural smile. It is a versatile treatment option that works to treat a variety of complications including:
▣ One Missing Tooth
Many dentists recommend dental implants to patients who have a missing tooth. Whether the missing tooth is the result of natural aging, a blow to the face or another cause, implants work well as a long-term replacement solution. For single tooth replacement, a dental crown will also be attached to the implant. The dental crown will provide the appearance of a natural tooth.
▣ Multiple Missing Teeth
Implants are also an option for multiple missing teeth, as well. For a section of two or more missing teeth, the dentist may recommend dental implants with a bridge attachment. For full arch replacement, it might be best to attach a full denture to surgically-placed implants in the jaw.
▣ Severely Damaged Teeth
Most dentists will try and save the natural tooth after damage occurs through dental crowns or another type of restoration. However, there are times when damaged or loose teeth are better off being removed and replaced with dental implants. This is the case in situations where an infected tooth threatens the patient's oral and overall health.
“Along with helping to restore functionality and completing a set of teeth, dental implants can also help restore the appearance of a natural smile.”
▣ Signs That a Dentist Looks For
During the implant consultation, the dentist will conduct a thorough oral examination and most likely order dental X-rays to determine if the patient is a candidate for dental implants. The dentist will consider the gum health, bone density, and overall health of the patient during the first visit.
▣ Gum Health
Natural teeth and dental implants work similarly, and they are both supported by the gums. If the gums are weak, eroded, or if the patient has periodontal disease, then the implant may not hold the way it should long-term. Implants are still an option with poor gum health, but additional treatment is likely necessary.
▣ Bone Density
Dental implants replace the teeth while also preserving the natural bone. However, the jaw needs the proper amount of bone dentistry to support the dental implant. The jawbone is also essential for a firm hold of the implant, abutment, and artificial tooth. After tooth loss occurs, the bone inside the jaw begins to lose its density. Over time, this can result in the need for a bone grafting procedure to rebuild the strength and density of the jawbone. Once the jawbone is strong enough, we will begin the process.
▣ General Health
The implant process also involves a minor surgical procedure to place the dental implant inside the jawbone. As is the case with any surgery, the patient should be willing and able to go through the process. This procedure is slightly more invasive than other replacement solutions.
“The dentist will consider the gum health, bone density, and overall health of the patient during the first visit.”
▣ The Procedure
A dental implant procedure can take many months because it involves multiple procedures that require healing time in between. Exactly how long and how many procedures will depend on the patient's unique situation. For example, patients who need bone grafting can expect the process to take longer.
Overall, patients undergo a series of outpatient procedures, typically starting with removal of damaged teeth or any bone grafting needed to prepare the jaw. Then, the dental titanium post is placed and the patient must recover after that procedure. It is important to give the jawbone ample time to heal around the post. The final step is the placement of the replacement tooth or teeth in the form of a crown, bridge or permanent denture.
“Exactly how long and how many procedures will depend on the patient’s unique situation.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you get dental implants with crooked teeth?
What might inhibit a patient from being a candidate for dental implants?
What process does a dentist use to determine if implants are an option?
What are the benefits of dental implants?
How should one care for their dental implants?
Dental Implant Terminology
An abutment is a component that attaches to the dental implant so a professional can place a dental crown to provide patients with an artificial, aesthetically pleasing and fully-functional smile.
Multiple replacement teeth that are fixed in place via attachment to dental implants, natural adjacent teeth, or a combination of the two.
▣ Dental Crown
A crown is an artificial tooth, usually consisting of porcelain, which covers the top of the implant to provide people with an aesthetically pleasing and fully-functional tooth.
▣ Dental Implant
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason.
▣ Endosteal (endosseous)
Endosteal is a type of dental implant that a professional places in the alveolar and basal bone of the mandible that transcends only one cortical plate.
▣ Eposteal (subperiosteal)
Eposteal is a type of dental implant that conforms to whichever edentulous surface of an alveolar bone is superior.
▣ Implant-Supported Bridge
An implant-supported bridge is a dental bridge that professionals fix in place with the use of dental implants inserted in the jaw to create a sturdy set of artificial teeth.
Osseointegration is the process in which a titanium dental implant fuses with the surrounding bone over several months after an oral health professional places the implant in the jaw.
Literally “around the tooth”
Resorption is the process in which the body absorbs the calcium from the jaw since there are no tooth roots to cause the necessary stimulation and proceeds to use the calcium in other areas.
▣ Transosteal (transosseous)
Transosteal is a type of dental implant that includes threaded posts which penetrate the superior and inferior cortical bone plates of the jaw.