Dental implants have become the most popular option for replacing teeth that have been lost due to decay, gum disease, injury, or aging. An implant is a titanium rod that is surgically placed in the jaw and fuses with the jawbone over time, creating a strong foundation for a crown, dental bridge, or dentures. Dental implants are a permanent way to restore the look of your smile as well as your full ability to eat, speak, and care for your teeth properly. However, dental implants are not the best option for everyone. Here are some categories of patients for whom implants may not be suitable.
People with Gum Disease
Patients need to have healthy gums in order to get dental implants. When gum disease progresses, it causes your gums to pull away from your teeth. This gum recession not only allows bacteria and plaque to build up in these spaces and contribute to infection, but it also weakens your bones and causes your teeth to loosen. Therefore, someone with gum disease would have a high chance of implant failure. We always screen patients for active gum disease before recommending dental implants.
You can also still develop gum disease after getting dental implants. For this reason, people with an increased risk of developing gum disease—including smokers and people with diabetes, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis—are not ideal candidates for dental implants.
People with Significant Jawbone Loss
In addition to having healthy gums, you also need to have sufficient jawbone mass to support dental implants. Jawbone deterioration can be the result of a misaligned bite, gum disease, not having natural teeth in your jaw, grinding your teeth, osteoporosis, or just natural aging. Dentures may be a better option for older patients with poor bone density, whereas younger patients with healthy bones and gums are usually great candidates for dental implants. Bone graft surgery is also an option for patients with bone loss who still want to have implants placed.
If you are interested in dental implants but are unsure if you are a good candidate, our office can help. Call us today.
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