Dental Implant Candidates
Good oral hygiene habits and regular dental checkups go a long way in preserving oral health and maintaining the beauty of the smile. However, tooth loss is still a common dental concern, especially among older adults. Addressing tooth loss is essential to maintaining oral functions and protecting remaining teeth.
Dental implants are one of the most effective tooth loss treatments. Dental implants replace the roots and crowns of the teeth, which make them superior to other dental restorations. Here, dentists from The Smile Center, in Virginia Beach, VA, discuss dental implant candidacy, and the factors that are taken into consideration when determining if dental implants are an appropriate treatment option for our patients.
Degree of Tooth Loss
When determining the best tooth loss treatment for each of our Virginia Beach patients, we consider the degree of tooth loss they have experienced, as well as the location of tooth loss. Some tooth loss treatments are only suitable for individuals who have lost a small set of teeth, while others are better suited for those who have lost a large number of teeth.
Dental implants are extremely versatile. Provided patients meet the candidacy requirements, dental implants can address the loss of a single tooth, a small set of teeth, or an entire arch of teeth. Dental implants essentially act as anchors to support dental restorations, including dental crowns, dental bridges, and dentures. Dental implants can also be placed in virtually any area of the jaw, making them suitable for tooth loss at the front or back of the mouth.
Dental implants are surgically placed through the gums and into the jaw bone. In order for the procedure to go smoothly and for the soft tissues of the mouth to heal properly, it is important that a patient has good periodontal health. Individuals should be free of gum infections, like gingivitis, or more advanced stages of periodontal disease. If periodontal issues are present, they can be treated so that patients can still consider dental implant treatment.
One of the main things that sets dental implants apart from other dental restorations is their ability to act as artificial tooth roots. Dental implants fuse with the jaw bone and continue to stimulate the tissues of the jaw, so that bone degeneration does not develop. Unfortunately, if bone loss has already occurred, the jaw may not be strong enough to support dental implants, and osseointegration (fusion with the jaw bone) cannot occur.
Sufficient bone density is essential to dental implant success, so those of our Virginia Beach patients with low bone density are not considered ideal dental implant candidates. However, dental implant treatment may still be an option if the patient undergoes bone graft treatment to strengthen the jaw around the implant area.
Smoking is another important consideration of dental implant candidacy. Osseointegration is key to dental implant success. As patients heal from dental implant surgery the tissues of the bone grow and fuse around the implant so that it becomes a part of the jaw. Unfortunately, smoking narrows the blood vessels and restricts the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients that promote healing. This interferes with dental implant recovery and can ultimately prevent osseointegration. Ideal dental implant candidates should be non-smokers, or should be willing to quit smoking for at least four to six weeks prior to dental implant treatment, and until they have completely healed from the procedure.
If you have experienced adult tooth loss and are considering dental implant treatment, a personal consultation is the best way to determine if you are an ideal candidate. To schedule an appointment with a member of the dental team at The Smile Center, send us a message online, or call (757) 473-8482.