Voting season in just around the corner and already we’re being inundated with political ads. Of the candidates up for reelection or those challenging the incumbent, there are some good candidates and some who are not. For most things in life, especially politics, it can take a lot to be the right candidate, to be able to check all the right boxes which qualify you for a position. With dental implants, however, this isn’t exactly true. If you’re one of an estimated 178 million Americans in the United States who are missing at least one tooth, and are unhappy with the way your smile looks, then you’re well on your way to being a good fit for dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants offer men and women one of the most effective solutions for replacing missing teeth. With a nearly 98 percent success rate, dental implants allow those who have lost teeth, to enjoy the beauty of their old smile with confidence. Composed of two main components, the titanium implant, and the ceramic crown, what makes dental implants so successful is a process discovered in 1952 by Per-Ingvar Brånemark, known as osseointegration. This is the process in which titanium fuses with bone and tissue to form a secure connection that mimics that of a natural tooth root. After this healing process has occurred, a custom-made crown is placed on the implant and secured in place.
What Makes a Good Candidate?
There are a few characteristics that you must have in order for a dentist to consider giving you dental implants. The first is simple: having a missing tooth. The second requires you to be an adult over the age of twenty, because the jaw bones of teenagers and children are still growing, and would disturb the process of osseointegration. The third requires you to be healthy enough to undergo surgery.
What Would Disqualify You?
While it doesn’t take much to be a great candidate for dental implants, there are a few things that could make the process a little more difficult. Being gum disease free is the first, and maybe most important. That’s because gum disease is the cause of the majority of dental implant failure, which is ironic because it can also cause the loss of teeth if it becomes too bad. Usually, we can treat gum disease before placing your implant, and if you take proper care of your implant, it won’t be a disqualifier, just a delay.
Smoking can also make it difficult for your mouth to heal and bond with the dental implants. In both cases, this is because of inflammation. Inflammation caused by smoking or gum disease can make it difficult for your body to heal. Nicotine can cause your body to form fibrous tissue around an implant rather than good bone. Smokers have at least three times higher risk of implant failure than nonsmokers. You should stop smoking during the time before your implant procedure and while the implant is healing. This can help, but it takes 10-15 years for your risk to drop down to that of nonsmokers.
Having enough bone mass is also important, as dental implants are inserted directly into your jaw bone. Bone grafts can be used to improve the amount of bone you have. Sometimes, a graft can be done at the same time as your implant procedure. Other times, it may require a separate procedure and a separate healing phase. Again, this won’t disqualify you, but it might delay you.
If you’re unsure whether dental implants will work for you, the best step you could take is scheduling a consultation with your dentist and talking through your concerns. Your dentist can review your chart and more accurately judge whether they would be a good option for you.
If you are missing one or more teeth and live in or around Tarrytown, New York, please call (914) 332-4402 or contact Advanced Dentistry of Tarrytown online to schedule a dental implant consultation.