Dental implants can be the most natural-looking and comfortable option for replacing missing or damaged teeth, but they aren’t right for everyone. Keep reading to find out if dental implants could be a good option for you and when they might not be suitable.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a realistic-looking replacement tooth that can be fitted into your jaw. The implant comes in two pieces: a metal root that is fixed into the jaw and the replacement tooth that fits over the top. Each implant replaces a single tooth and it will be tailored to you so that it looks just right. You can have a single implant or as many as necessary to replace your existing teeth.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
Most people will be able to have dental implants if they want to replace a tooth. If you are an adult with good general health then you will probably be a suitable candidate for this procedure. You can have a single implant fitted, get multiple teeth replaced, or even get a complete set of dental implants if necessary. However, dental implants aren’t the best choice for everyone. You will need to be assessed by the dentist to ensure that dental implants are the right option for you.
During the assessment, the dentist will ask about your medical history and perform an examination of your teeth, gums and mouth. You will probably need to have an X-ray to check your jawbone. The dentist may also need to take models of your teeth, especially if your implants will need to sit alongside your natural teeth. The results of the examination will determine whether you are a suitable candidate for dental implants. The dentist will also use them to plan the procedure, by choosing the right implants and working out exactly how they should be placed.
Any issues with your teeth and gums will also be identified so that these can be treated before you have the implants fitted. It is especially important to get gum disease under control first because it can lead to bone loss in your jaw that could affect the implants.
Who Can’t Have Dental Implants?
Although dental implants are suitable for most people, they aren’t right for everyone. You might not be able to have a dental implant if:
- You’re a child or young adult. Dental implants can’t be fitted while the jawbone is still growing, so younger patients will need to wait before they can have this treatment. Other types of tooth replacement can be used to fill in the gap until you are old enough to have dental implants.
- You are a smoker. Smoking can make it harder for your body to heal after the procedure. It can also damage the gum and bone around the implant if you smoke after having one fitted. If you want to have dental implants fitted then you should give up smoking in order to avoid these risks.
- You have problems with your gums or jawbone. Bone loss can happen as a result of gum disease or wearing dentures for a long time. Dental implants are fixed in place using metal posts or roots that are inserted into your jaw. The bone must be strong and healthy enough to keep these posts secure.
- You have other health problems such as diabetes or heart disease. It’s important to discuss any health issues with your dentist before having a treatment like implants. The dentist will want to ensure that you are healthy enough for the procedure and that there aren’t any issues that could prevent you from healing properly. Having other health issues won’t necessarily mean that you can’t have dental implants, but the dentist will need to take them into account.
If you can’t have dental implants then there are some other options that your dentist might suggest. You might be able to have a crown or bridge fitted over your existing teeth. Partial or complete dentures can also be used to replace missing teeth. The results can often look just as good as dental implants and some of these options can be fixed in place so that they feel very natural.