Dental implants are by far the best possible option available today for the replacement of missing teeth, offering distinct advantages over all other options, including better support of oral health, more efficient oral function, greater comfort and a more attractive and natural looking smile. Who is a candidate for dental implants?
The simple answer to that question is that the vast majority of people who have missing teeth are candidates, thanks to the advances in implant dentistry over the last decade or so. That said, it is important to know that certain factors can increase risk implant failure, but with overall success rates for implants at around 95 percent, that risk is still quite small.
The Ideal Dental Implant Candidate
An ideal candidate for dental implants is an individual who is in good general and oral health, has strong bone structure in the jaw and does not have issues with jaw clenching, conditions that are optimal for successful osseointegration, which means bonding between the implant and the bone of the jaw. During the very early days of implant dentistry, dental implants were largely limited to those ideal candidates.
However, advances in materials, technology and techniques over the years have made dental implants a viable option for a much wider range of patients, many of whom would have been turned away just a decade ago.
For example, many patients who would likely have been considered poor candidates a decade ago due to bone loss are routinely treated today, and with great success. Among the advancements that have made this possible are better bone grafting techniques, 3-D imaging systems that allow more accurate appraisals of bone health and specialized implants that can be placed securely in patients with less-than-ideal bone quantity or quality. While not every patient with bone quality or quantity issues can be helped, most can, even many who have fairly extensive bone loss from years of wearing removable dentures.
Certain Existing Health Concerns
Individuals with certain health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, smokers and patients who had suffered with serious gum disease were quite likely to be turned away a decade ago as well. Today, so long as these medical conditions are treated and controlled, most people with diabetes or hypertension can have dental implant procedures done, as can smokers. Patients with gum disease can generally have implants placed once periodontal disease is treated and resolved. While risk of implant failure can be greater in many such cases, success rates are still between 90 and 95 percent, according to the American Association Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.
So if you have assumed, as many people do, that you aren’t a good candidate for dental implants, request an appointment for an evaluation before you settle for lesser tooth replacement options. Given the wide variety of options available today in implant dentistry, chances are very good that there are safe and effective implant-based restoration options that can give you back your brilliant smile.