Did you know that dental implants—artificial, long-term replacements that look and feel like your natural teeth—are often the best option for replacing missing teeth? Most people who are missing a tooth would be a good candidate for dental implants, regardless of age. But there are some exceptions.
Here are some issues that you and your dentist may need to discuss:
- Is there enough bone present to which the implant can adhere? In some cases, bone will be grafted into the implant site to ensure good adherence of the implant.
- Do you have diabetes? Uncontrolled blood glucose can lead to problems with healing and increased risk for infection after dental implant surgery.
- Are you a smoker? Smokers don’t always do as well with the procedure. This is partly because smoking causes decreased circulation, which leads to problems with healing after surgery and a higher risk for infection.
- Do you have gum disease? Periodontal (gum) disease may need to be addressed before implants are considered. Your dentist might refer you to a periodontist.
- Are you on any medications? Some medications can affect surgery and healing. For example, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) taken before surgery can lead to increased bleeding during the procedure. Additionally, if you have been taking bisphosphonates to combat osteoporosis, you may be at risk for bone infection in your jaw if an implant is placed.
- Talk with your physician and dentist to find out whether dental implants are right for you. Together you can create a treatment plan to keep you healthy and smiling.