Who Is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

El Paso Dental Implants Candidates

Jun 19, 2014 — by Bruce Gopin, DDS
Tags: Dental Implants Restorative Dentistry

A couple with full, healthy smiles Ideally, teeth should be be able to last many years if not a lifetime, preserved by positive hygiene habits and professional care. Unfortunately, some patients do not take all the preventative measures they can against decay, and even then, some are simply more prone to disease. If and when tooth loss does occur, the best thing you can do to restore your smile is to replace teeth in a timely and effective manner. At our El Paso dental center, many such patients benefit from dental implants and implant-supported restorations. Implants are often the best way to replace missing teeth, but patients must first be deemed good candidates for surgery. Before deciding on your method of tooth replacement, consider the requirements for implants and whether you are able to have them installed.

Who May Benefit from Dental Implants?

A dental implant serves as the replacement for a tooth’s roots, and is installed directly into the gum and bone where the tooth once was. Once installed, the implant is used to support a dental crown or larger restoration above the gums. Because implants replace teeth entirely, rather than fixing them, a tooth must already be missing in order for the implant to be installed in its place. If a patient is suffering from severe decay and it is decided that the tooth should be replaced, it will need to be extracted before the implant procedure can continue. Assuming implants are installed successfully, patients will benefit from a restoration that is comparable to the strength and health of any natural tooth.

Candidates for Implant Surgery

When considering a patient’s candidacy for implants, a few factors must be considered. First, the patient’s current dental health will be examined. If any decay or disease remains, it should be dealt with prior to oral surgery. A common problem is gum disease, which may manifest as a mild inflammation of the gums or a serious infection. Any degree of gum disease should be minimized as much as possible, whether through simple hygiene or professional periodontal treatment. The healthier a mouth is during and after implant surgery, the more likely implants are to successfully heal.

If a patient’s teeth and gums are healthy, the dentist must then consider the patient’s overall health. While oral surgery does not present significant risks, it is still a procedure from which patients must recover. As a result, good candidates should have little or no complications that may present themselves as surgical risk factors, such as heart disease, liver disease, and uncontrolled diabetes. Smokers will also need to abstain from tobacco use in the weeks prior to and following surgery.

Another factor that influences a patient’s candidacy is jaw structure. Since implants must fuse with the jawbone, there must be enough bone tissue present to support them. This is not a problem for the average patient who has recently lost teeth. However, those who have suffered from years of tooth loss may have also suffered from gradually degraded bone tissue. In such circumstances, patients may be recommended for a bone graft to reinforce the jaw.

Increasing Your Candidacy for Dental Implants

If you are currently unable to receive dental implants due to the condition of your mouth, you may be able to undergo professional treatment to increase your candidacy. In the case of gum disease, you can receive a deep cleaning to remove pockets of infection from gums. If disease is severe, surgical periodontal treatments such as flap surgery are also available, which will help fight infection and encourage your gums to heal.

If you are recommended for a bone graft, a single procedure can support your jaw with new bone tissue. By taking tissue from elsewhere on your body or an outside source, the dentist can graft it to your jaw, right where implants are to be installed. Although patients must wait several months for the graft to heal, this is an excellent way to fix a weakened jaw and prepare someone for one or more implants in the future.  

Schedule Your Consultation

To learn more about dental implants and whether you are a candidate for them, come into our office for a consultation with Dr. Gopin. Call or email our office to schedule your appointment today and get started on your restored smile.

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