Are missing teeth causing you embarrassment and physical pain? You’re not alone: on average, an American adult has at least three teeth that are either missing, or are in serious danger of being lost. For a long time, the only things you could do about a missing tooth as an adult was limited to three options:
- Get a dental bridge placed
- Get dentures
- Live with it
Nobody should have to live with missing teeth; it’s not just a matter of your appearance, either. Your teeth play a big role in the alignment of your jaws. When they’re missing, your jaws don’t line up correctly (think of a table with a leg that’s shorter than the others). This makes chewing and talking more difficult and even painful, and it can even damage the teeth you have left because the pressure of your bite isn’t correctly distributed, leading to fractures and cracks that can lead to serious infections.
Edgewood Dental (in Edgewood, KY and serving the entire Northern KY Metroplex) can replace your teeth with dental implants that are superior to dentures and bridges. Dental implants are permanent, and when they’re in, they behave just like the teeth you were born with. They also require less maintenance than other solutions.
If you have missing teeth, dental implants are your best bet. Unfortunately, not everyone is a suitable candidate for dental implants. In this post, we’ll discuss what it takes to get dental implants.
Before we get into detail on what makes a good candidate for dental implants, keep in mind that this post isn’t meant to “screen you out”. Ultimately, only your dentist can tell you if your teeth and health are in good enough condition to receive dental implants. If you’re thinking about dental implants, you need to see your dentist! Also, if it does turn out that you can’t get dental implants, you can still replace your missing teeth with conventional treatments (bridges and dentures). These are still viable solutions for solving the problems created by missing teeth.
Can I Get Dental Implants?
Dental implants are surgically placed; generally, this means you need to be well enough to undergo surgery, in addition to having good oral health. Implants have a 95% success rate; that means that only 5% fail or result in a complication of some kind. If your oral health isn’t where it needs to be, the likelihood of failure goes up considerably.
To get dental implants, you must:
Have Good Oral Health
Your dentist should make this determination for you, but generally good oral health in the context of dental implants means that your jawbone has sufficient bone density (implants rely on your jawbone to stay in place; there needs to be enough good, healthy bone to hold the implant firmly), and that you’re free of oral disease.
This is a little tricky for some folks, because usually the reason why teeth are missing isn’t injury, but disease. Periodontal (gum) disease is often the problem; in fact, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. Gum disease that has caused teeth to be lost has very likely begun to degrade the gums and the bones that your implant will rely on to work properly.
If you have gum disease, your dentist will want to address that problem first before dental implants are placed. In our practice, if you don’t have the right amount of bone density, we can surgically repair that as well with a bone graft (adding bone to your jaw from somewhere else in your body), or even a sinus lift (reducing the size of your sinus cavities to create enough room for implants). One more note on jawbone density: some people may not have enough simply because they were born with narrow or smaller jaws. If this is your situation, your dentist may be able to provide a surgical solution, or you may simply need smaller implants.
Be an Adult
This means you are more or less done growing. Implants need a stable environment to do the best job possible. Children and teenagers are still growing, and that includes their teeth and jaws. Placing an implant in this dynamic environment has a high chance of failure (if it isn’t a certainty). No reputable dental professional will suggest that a child or a teenager receive a dental implant.
Be Able to Undergo General Anesthesia
Dental implants, unlike bridges and dentures, are surgically installed. This means that you’ll need to be “under” for the procedure. If you know you have a history of difficulty with general anesthesia, you should discuss it with your dentist so that you get the best treatment possible while ensuring that your overall health (and in some cases, your life) isn’t put at risk.
Be in Good General Health
You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete, but you should be free of serious disease. Diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and autoimmune disorders can cause complications for dental implants that can be dangerous as well as increasing the chance of implant failure.
Remember: everyone’s health is different, and each person’s ability to undergo one type of procedure (but not another) is unique. Your dentist will want to have a comprehensive understanding of your general health to make the best recommendation for you.
Don’t Lose Out Because of Lost Teeth!
If you have missing teeth, you will experience problems far beyond just a negative impact on your appearance. Dental implants are the ideal solution for replacing missing teeth, but you won’t know if you’re a good candidate until you have a consultation with your dentist.
Don’t delay your treatment; problems with your teeth only get worse, they never just get better with time.
Dial 859-474-7830 to reach the Edgewood Dental Team! Our award-winning practice provides comfortable, customized care. New patients are often able to be seen within a week of their call!