Replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant is essential not just to your oral health but your overall health, too. One missing tooth can cause many other severe oral complications, including gum disease, jawbone recession, tooth decay, and shifting teeth. It can also lead to malnutrition because you won’t be able to chew food correctly, making it difficult for your body to absorb essential nutrients and minerals.
A gap in your smile will lower your confidence and self-esteem, which can lead to depression. Therefore, replacing a missing tooth immediately is paramount. Fortunately, dental implants permanently replace the missing teeth, allowing you to continue living your life normally without interruptions.
But before you rush to your dentist for dental implants, you need to be sure that you are the right candidate. Here are some important factors that determine your suitability for dental implants.
The right candidate for dental implants doesn’t have any underlying medical conditions. So, before your dentist clears you for dental implants, he or she will run a few medical tests on you to ensure that you do not have any health issues that could put you at risk during and after surgery. Some of the medical conditions that will negatively affect your candidacy for implants include diabetes, heart disease, gum disease, bone disease, smoking, alcohol abuse, and many others.
They will also check if your immunity is compromised or take medications that might put your life at risk. Since dental implants are placed into your jawbone through an invasive surgical procedure, you will be sedated throughout the procedure. Therefore, your doctor must ensure that your overall health allows you to be sedated.
For your dental implant placement procedure to be successful, you need to have enough bone mass to support and anchor the implant. It would help if you also had healthy gums. So, your doctor will start by evaluating your jaw, gum, teeth, and mouth in general before they clear you for dental implants. Ordinarily, the doctor will conduct an X-ray and a CT scan to check for bone loss, nerve location, and the shape of your sinuses.
A young patient whose jawbone hasn’t developed fully is not a good candidate for a dental implant because their immature jawbone will hinder osseointegration – the implant’s fusion to the jawbone. This integration is critical to the longevity of the dental implant. So, children and teenagers are advised to try other temporary tooth replacement options like crowns and bridges.