Dental implants are part of a class of innovations that have allowed people to get their smiles and confidence back. While they can often seem like a medical miracle, they're not a perfect answer for every patient. A dentist has to confront practical concerns about which patients can get dental implants. Here are three of the most important factors a dentist will want to consider before possibly recommending implants.
The Condition of the Patient's Gums
First, it's worth noting that this isn't an automatic "no" if you have gum health issues. However, a dentist needs to be confident that a patient's gums will be healthy enough to sustain implants for many years to come.
An implant is anchored by a post that goes through the gums and into the dental bones below. If the gums aren't in great shape, there's a risk they'll recede and expose more of the post to stress. The more jostling the post takes, the more likely the implant will come out. No one wants to be back at the dentist's office dealing with a problem just a few months down the road.
If you have gum issues, though, a hygienist may be able to help. They and the dentist can work together to see if they can treat gum health problems. After a few months, the dentist will take a look at how things are going and decide whether your gums are good enough to support implants.
Every person has bones that sit between the jaw and the gums. These bones serve several purposes for healthy, natural teeth, including providing them with sockets and flexibility. Dental implants are anchored in these bones. Notably, the bones below the gums will usually start to atrophy once the teeth are gone. This means the body absorbs them and they go away. For this reason, your dentist may prefer that a patient who wants implants get them as soon as possible after teeth have been removed. Otherwise, there's a risk that there won't be enough of a base to anchor a post.
Ongoing Healthy Problems
Many diseases, disorders, and even lifestyle choices can harm gum and overall oral health. Particularly, smoking tends to be bad for the mouth. Likewise, smokeless tobacco usage can create major problems for dental implants.
Unfortunately, some diseases also produce trouble at the gums. Diabetes is especially known for this. Similarly, a doctor has to keep an eye out for signs of oral cancer. If so, these conditions must be controlled before dental implants are an option. For more information about dental implants, contact a dental service.