A dental implant is a “root” device, usually made of titanium, used in dentistry to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth to replace missing teeth. Dental Implants are frequently the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth.
Are you a good candidate for Dental Implants?
Crowns, bridges, and dentures are not the only options when replacing missing teeth. Dental implants offer the look and feel of natural teeth. Implants offer stability because they fuse to your bone. Integration of the implants into your jaw bone also helps the replacement teeth feel more natural and many people find this secure fit very comfortable.
Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost one or more teeth due to periodontal disease or an injury. Candidates for dental implants need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. A thorough evaluation by your dentist will help determine whether dental implants are right for you.
Dental implants are actually more tooth-saving than traditional bridgework, since implants do not rely on neighboring teeth for support. In a bridge, the teeth surrounding the site of the missing teeth must be shaved down and fitted with crowns.
Common Reasons for Dental Implants
A common reason people consider implants is due to poor fit of their dentures, which causes difficulty in chewing and a fear of losing the dentures while talking or eating. The majority of patients treated with dental implants experience a significant improvement in their ability to chew food and they report that the implants are a far more comfortable alternative.
Common Reasons Dental Implants May Not Work
Most adults can be candidates for dental implants. However, smokers and those with uncontrolled chronic diseases or systemic problems may not be good candidates for this procedure. Smoking impedes healing in the mouth and can reduce the likelihood that implants will be successful. People with poorly controlled diabetes may not be good candidates for implants as well, due to healing problems of the gum tissue that can arise.
The First Step
Making the initial dental appointment is the first step in evaluating if dental implants are right for you. Usually a prosthodontist, periodontist or an oral surgeon are the dentists to look for. There are a few general dentists with specialized training qualified to place implants. Check with each doctor to make sure of their specialization or their certification with implantology.
On the first appointment a full mouth exam will be completed with a complete medical and dental history. You’ll receive X-rays and possibly a CT scan, which will give the dentist a good idea of your bone density and the shape of your jaw. Finally, you’ll discuss the options available to you and be educated by the dental staff about the whole implant procedure. They’ll discuss if you’d be a good candidate for a dental implant. You must also commit to a meticulous oral hygiene regime with regular dental visits.
Finding out if you’re a good candidate for dental implants begins with a simple step. With motivation, care and willingness, dental implants can give the confidence and security to last a lifetime.