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Who is a Candidate for Implants?

Diagram of a single dental implantDental implants are a highly effective and popular alternative to traditional dentures. Even though they are new, many patients have sought them out to replace missing teeth and restore their quality of life. But to receive implants, you must first qualify as a candidate.

Have you Lost Permanent Teeth?

It’s a bit of a no-brainer, but we can’t replace any missing teeth if you haven’t lost any, to begin with. People lose teeth for many different reasons, such as facial trauma, tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth grinding. But no matter how many teeth you’ve lost or how you lost them, dental implants can replace them all. You can also get dental implants to replace teeth you plan to have extracted.

How Old are you?

No patient is too old to benefit from dental implants. Some people mistakenly believe there’s a cap on age, but as long as other requirements are met, you can receive implants even in your eighties.

However, some patients are too young. Teenagers can receive dental implants, but we should wait until their jaws have finished growing first. This occurs around age 18 for boys and age 16 for girls. Until then, teens will need alternative treatments until their jaws finish growing.

Do you have Adequate Overall Health?

The dental implant procedure requires surgery, which entails some form of anesthesia. Recipients of anesthesia must have good overall health, including oral health. If you have preexisting conditions such as cavities or gum disease, we’ll need to treat those before we can talk about dental implants.

If you have other medical conditions like diabetes or hypertension, we’ll need to get those under control before we can proceed with dental implant surgery. Patients who are in good health will have a reduced risk for complications during surgery and the healing period.

Do you Abstain from Tobacco Usage?

The health concerns produced by cigarette use is known. But during the recovery period after surgery, this is particularly problematic because smoking lowers the oxygen levels in your blood and slows the rate of blood flow. This slows down the speed that essential nutrients are carried to the site of surgery, drags out the recovery period longer, and increases the risk of infection.

Following surgery, we want blood clots to form in the site of surgery. Smoking can dislodge these clots, opening up the wound so that food residue and bacteria gather within. If you are a smoker, you will most likely need to quit to receive dental implants.

Do you have enough Bone Mass?

For the implants to succeed, the titanium posts must bond with the jawbone. Once this happens, the posts will rejuvenate the bone, which in turn supports the implants. If your jawbone isn’t strong enough or you don’t have enough, this bonding process can’t properly take place.

To fix this, you may need a bone graft, which is a surgical procedure that adds and restores the jaw’s bone mass. This will strengthen your jaw so it can support the implants.

The only way to determine whether or not you qualify as a candidate is to come in for a free consultation with Dr. Wallace and Dr. Gannon. During this visit, we’ll go over your medical and dental history to see if dental implants will work for you.

For more information, please contact our office at 214-363-9946.
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