Dental implants are a prosthetic device that serves a similar function as the roots of natural teeth. Dental implants are titanium alloy anchors that are surgically implanted into a patient’s jawbone. Once the implant is in place, a post is threaded into the implant and a crown can be cemented to the post just like a crown is placed on a natural tooth. Multiple implants can be used to anchor a bridge and full or partial dentures.
Most patients are good candidates for dental implants. One of the most important considerations is that the patient has an adequate amount of bone in their jaw for placement of the implant. If the patient has been using dentures or been missing teeth in this area for some period of time, they may have lost too much jaw bone and it may be necessary for an oral surgeon to build up the amount of bone using bone grafts before the implant can be placed.
In addition, good candidates for dental implants will have healthy gum tissue free of periodontal disease. Gingivitis and gum disease should be addressed prior to placement of dental implants. Also, heavy tobacco users may experience poorer outcomes. Tobacco use impairs the healing process at the site of the implant and may cause the implant to fail to heal properly.
Young patients may not be good implant candidates because their jawbones are not fully formed yet. In addition, pregnant women may want to delay placement of the implant. Finally, good overall health will improve outcomes. Patients with chronic health issues may not be good candidates for dental implants.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will evaluate your case and let you know whether or not you are a good candidate for dental implants.
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