If you’re considering dental implants, you’ve probably noticed that they don’t come cheap and while the price is a big factor, there are some other things you should know before signing off on your dental implant procedure. Have you ever wondered if you are a suitable candidate? Here is the truth about dental implants so you can make an informed choice about whether they are right for you.
Dental implants generally have a success rate of between 95% – 98%, depending on what study you are reading. While these are exceptionally good rates, these figures do not encompass the whole population, but just those people who have had implants—who, presumably, were good candidates. The truth is that not everyone is a suitable candidate for a dental implant procedure. In truth, the following situations may be a problem if you are considering dental implant treatment.
You have poor oral health
Here’s one truth about dental implants—they’re sturdy and reliable because they literally bond with your jawbone to create a strong anchor point for your crowns (the part of the implant that looks like a tooth). That bond can only happen if your jawbone is healthy and intact. Bone loss is a common reason for losing teeth—and it is often caused by periodontal disease, an advanced form of gum disease that damages the structures that hold your teeth in place.
To be eligible for a dental implant, your oral health is crucial, and you need sufficient healthy bone for the implant to attach to. If your tooth has fallen out because of gum disease, then that means that the infection has spread to the bone. When this happens, it breaks down and deteriorates the bone tissue.
So, does this mean that you can’t have dental implant treatment?
In a word, no! prior to placing an implant you can undergo a bone graft procedure to augment the jawbone. This procedure will help strengthen the jawbone so that it can better support the titanium post that holds the artificial tooth in place.
You’re a smoker
Smoking affects oral health as well as general health. When you smoke, it affects the blood flow to your gums, which is needed for healthy gum tissue and bone growth as nutrients and infection-fighting cells are transported around the body in the blood. After dental implant surgery, it is particularly important that your body receives the right nutrition to heal and prevent infection.
Second, it’s important to know how smoking affects the success rate of your dental implants.
The dental implant success rate is highly dependent on good oral hygiene, which means regular brushing and flossing twice daily.
If you smoke, this is significantly harder due to the increased plaque build-up and gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis) that smokers suffer.
Smoking can also lead to a condition called peri-implantitis, which is a gum infection that can affect your implant.
It’s actually a lot like a periodontal disease—but it affects the bone and gums surrounding the dental implant and can ultimately lead to failure of the implant.
Finally, smoking dries out your mouth, which prevents saliva from doing its job. Saliva is what protects your teeth and gums by killing bacteria and rinsing away food particles that would otherwise cause tooth decay. Without enough saliva in your mouth, plaque builds up more easily on the surface of the tooth, causing decay and gum disease.
You have a certain medical condition
Another truth about dental implants is that certain conditions may prevent you from getting dental implants – conditions such as:
Diabetes: If your blood sugar is poorly controlled, it can affect the success and healing of dental implants. The dentist may ask you to control your diabetes before having implant surgery. Diabetics are also susceptible to gum disease as diabetes affects saliva production
Heart disease: Heart disease can cause problems with blood flow, which are necessary in order to heal after surgery. Before having dental implants, you’ll need to make sure that you’re healthy enough for this type of surgery.
Osteoporosis: A dental implant won’t fuse with your jawbone if you have weak bones or osteoporosis. If this is the case, your dentist may suggest a bone graft prior to the implant procedure.
Autoimmune diseases: Your body might not accept the foreign object that is a dental implant. If this happens, the implant can be rejected by your body and lead to infection.
You must be over 18
The truth about dental implants is that while there is no upper age limit on having a dental implant as long as you are generally healthy and your oral health is good, there is a lower age limit of 18 years old. If you have not reached the age of 18 then you are too young for dental implants. The reason for this is simple—your jaw has not finished developing.
A dental implant has to be anchored in your jawbone to remain stable, the jawbone of someone who is under 18 years old can still change in shape and size due to the fact that it hasn’t finished growing yet. Potentially then, an implant may shift position and could need removing or re-anchoring at a later date.
The Truth About Dental Implants – The bottom line
The truth about dental implants is that they have a high success rate, but this is because dentists are careful to make sure that they are placed in patients who are suitable. Even if you desperately want implants, it is not worth the time and cost if they are likely to fail. But, if on the surface you don’t appear to be a suitable candidate, this doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road. Technology and expertise have moved on. Get up-to-date information about dental implant surgery from an expert at DDSS DDII and book an appointment to find out more today.
Web MD: Dental Implants – How Successful Are They?
Oral Health Foundation: Smoking and oral health
Diabetes Dental Care: Dental Implants and Diabetes