If you are missing a tooth or teeth, then you may be considering dental implants. A dental implant is a replacement tooth root made of titanium that is rooted in your jawbone to hold a replacement tooth or bridge.
Dental implants are the best possible replacements for real teeth. They are the only option that look, feel and function like your natural teeth, so that you can eat, smile and talk easily. Although dental implants are the most popular option, not everyone qualifies as a candidate for them. In order to qualify for dental implants, you have to have healthy gums and enough bone in your jaw for the implants to be anchored. Some people who have lost bone in their jaw may still qualify, as long as the bone can be rebuilt enough to hold the implant.
There are many more factors that might exclude you from being a candidate for dental implants. If you can relate to anything on the list below, then you may not be a good candidate for dental implants:
- If you are a heavy smoker, because smoking delays the mouth’s healing process.
- If you have alcohol or substance abuse, because you may not be able to follow the strictness of the healing process or have good enough oral hygiene habits to take care of the implants.
- If you are pregnant, because there are aspects of getting dental implants that may prove difficult or undesirable while pregnant, like the anxiety/stress of having surgery, the anesthesia involved and the X-rays involved.
- People who grind or clench their teeth a lot, because grinding and clenching will put too much pressure on the implant, possibly causing it to fail.
- Young people, because their jawbones are still growing and changing.
- People with certain chronic diseases, like hemophilia, certain immune deficiencies or connective-tissue diseases.
- People who have had high-dose radiation treatments to the head and/or neck area, because it can affect the survival rate of the implant.
If you have one of these conditions, you should not completely rule out dental implants because you could still be a candidate. It just depends on the severity of the situation. If you have one of these conditions, you should talk with your dentist to see if you are a good candidate for dental implants or if you should take a different route.