Tooth loss is more common than you may think! Approximately 178 million Americans are missing one tooth while 40 million are missing all of their teeth. Fortunately, loosing a tooth doesn’t mean that you need to go the rest of your life without it. There are a variety of tooth replacement option out there to choose from, like dental implants. While they have numerous benefits, like preventing bone loss, implants aren’t for everyone! Here are some qualities that make an excellent dental implant candidate.
Excellent Oral Hygiene
If you aren’t caring for your smile now, who’s to say that you will once you get dental implants? Implants need to be well cared for in order to be successful. This means brushing twice and flossing at least once a day. Another helpful step is rinsing with a mouthwash to fight against harmful bacteria. With healthy surrounding teeth, your implants are much more likely to last.
Great Gum Health
You’re more likely to develop gum disease when you have dental implants than if you still have your natural teeth. When you have plaque buildups along your gumline, and infection can develop. Over time, this will create “pockets” between the teeth and gums where harmful bacteria collect. Ultimately, if you don’t receive treatment, the bacteria will attack the bone that supports your implant. Healthy gum tissue is required to support a healthy implant.
Good Lifestyle Choices
If you have a habit of smoking or drinking heavily, you will need to avoid doing so during the dental implant process. Smoking doubles your risk of developing gum disease and can slow down the healing process. If you smoke before your surgery, this can contribute to bone loss and make it more difficult for the implants to be placed. Drinking excessively can also interfere with the healing process by causing dry mouth and inhibiting the clotting of blood.
Implants need to be anchored firmly into the jawbone. They will fuse together in a process known as “osseointegration.” However, when you are missing teeth, your jawbone isn’t being stimulated by regular biting and chewing, so it is reabsorbed by the body. Ultimately, you will experience bone loss. It can even shrink to the point where it can no longer properly support and implant. At this point, a bone graft would be required, or you could need to opt for another tooth replacement option, like a bridge or denture.
Outstanding Overall Health
Some chronic disease can create risks for patients who are getting implant surgery. For instance, if you have diabetes, you may be more likely to experience a dental implant failure. This is because diabetes makes it more difficult for the body to prevent and fight back infections. It can also interfere with the osseointegration process. Heart disease and sleep apnea can interfere with anesthesia during your procedure. Talk to your dentist about any health conditions you have and medications you take to ensure that it is safe to move forward in the implant process.
To learn if you would make a good dental implant candidate, set up a consultation. This way, you can work towards getting your smile back!
About the Author
Dr. Shahin Ghobadi earned his dental doctorate from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and served as the chief resident at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. Currently, he is a proud member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Dental Association, and New Jersey Dental Association. Over his career, he has won several awards, including the Dental Implant Student Award from the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the Pre-Doctoral Achievement Award from the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. To learn more about dental implants or to schedule a consultation at his office in Lincoln Park, visit his website or call (973) 633-5666.