Are Implants Right For You?
Thanks to modern advancements in dentistry, there are a number of options available for patients who are missing teeth. While all procedures seek to restore the appearance of your smile, there are very few that also completely restore your smile’s functionality. Implant dentistry is both cosmetic and restorative in nature, meaning that this procedure provides a beautiful, natural looking smile that is completely restored to its original state.
Because of the comprehensive nature of implant dentistry, not everyone is a good candidate. Read on to learn more about who is a good candidate for dental implants.
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?
For the most part, if you have lost one or more teeth, you are a candidate for dental implants. However, for some people, it may not be this simple. The following are some of the issues that may mean that you are not a good candidate for implant dentistry:
- You are not in good health
- You suffer from diabetes or cancer
- You have undergone radiation
- You are a smoker or alcoholic
- You have periodontal disease
- You do not have enough bone in your jaw to support an implant
- You are not willing or cannot wait 3 to 6 months for your tooth replacement
- You are unable or unwilling to cover the additional financial expense of implant dentistry
A patient’s physical health is important when it comes to determining whether you are a candidate for implants. This is because the procedure is invasive and requires the patient to be able to withstand the surgery but also heal quickly. A person who is not in good health will encounter higher risks of implant failure.
Some patients, but not all, who suffer from diabetes may have a higher risk of complications with implants. Diabetes can affect bone formation, wound healing and can increase the risk of infection. Similarly, patients with cancer or who have undergone radiation should consult with their dentist before moving forward with this process. Waiting until radiation treatment is complete may be a viable option for some cancer patients.
Both smoking and alcohol can greatly hinder the healing process. Therefore, patients who smoke or drink excessively should abstain from these activities completely until the implant process is complete. If a patient is unable to abstain from smoking or drinking for the duration of this process, your dentist will most likely encourage them to seek another tooth replacement option.
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, greatly increases the risk for implants to fail. If an implant is fitted in unhealthy gums, an infection can occur around the site of the implant causing pain, swelling and the implant will eventually need to be removed. If you currently suffer from gum disease but are interested in receiving dental implants, you should first receive professional treatment for periodontal disease.
Inadequate Bone in Jaw
The secret behind the success with dental implants is the titanium implant that is inserted securely into the jawbone. This implant acts as the tooth root and must fuse with the natural bone. If there is not enough bone in the jaw this can prevent the procedure from working correctly. However, patients who do not have enough bone in the jaw can also undergo a “bone graft”. During this process, bone tissue from another area of the body is transplanted into the jaw. This helps increase the amount of bone in this area but can also add on several months to the process.
Dental implants may initially seem more expensive than other tooth replacement options, such as dentures or bridges. However, because they last for a lifetime and require little to no maintenance, this procedure is much more cost effective in the long run.
Implants have typically not been covered by insurance, especially if there is a cheaper alternative. However, more and more insurance companies are quickly recognizing dental implants as a more stable, cost effective procedure. Some providers now cover dental implants as a result. Contact your provider to see if implants are covered in your plan.
If you are suffering from a missing tooth, you may be a candidate for dental implants. For more information on this procedure and whether this option is right for you, call us today at (847) 234-4405 or visit our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Rosenblatt. We look forward to discussing your implant dentistry options with you!