Dental implants are becoming increasingly popular. That’s because the simple procedure, which involves anchoring threaded titanium cylinders into the jawbone to create secure mounting points for new artificial teeth, comes with a huge list of benefits!
Not only will a permanent yet comfortable dental implant let you enjoy all the foods you used to before you began wearing dentures – it also makes speaking much easier, as the artificial teeth are at no risk of shifting out of place. If you’re not wearing dentures, then a dental implant will dramatically improve both your ability to speak and your overall appearance by replacing any crooked, missing or fractured teeth you might have.
Dentists and prosthodontists have essentially perfected the dental implant procedure over the past several decades. The active recovery period following a dental implant now lasts about one to two weeks, and new teeth can typically be mounted within six months of the procedure. Ninety nine percent of people who received dental implants are satisfied with their results!
If you are living without one or more teeth, unsatisfied with your natural smile, or using dentures, then you may have wondered if dental implants are an option for you. Most people are good candidates for the procedure, which only requires that the patient is healthy enough to undergo oral surgery or a routine dental extraction.
Unfortunately, the dental implant procedure may be too risky to safely perform on people who are living with certain health conditions. The following are some of the factors which may preclude someone from getting a dental implant.
Unhealthy Jawbone or Gums
Jawbone health plays a crucial role in the dental implant procedure. If the bone is not dense enough to securely anchor a titanium cylinder – or unable to heal until it has completely fused with the cylinder – then a dental implant may prove unsuccessful. An oral surgeon may compensate for the limitations of their patient’s jawbone by grafting bone tissue from another part of their body, but this solution is only available on a case-by-case basis.
Likewise, the gum tissue that would surround a dental implant must be resilient enough to heal following the procedure. If you are living with periodontal disease, then you may be at too high a risk of infection and inflammation to safely undergo and recover from a dental implant procedure.
Heavy Smoking or Alcohol Use
Osseointegration is the process by which bone naturally fuses to an implant – in this case, the titanium cylinder set into the jawbone. Unfortunately, cigarette smoking has a known detrimental effect on osseointegration, which in turn may greatly complicate the recovery phase following surgery. People who only recently began smoking or who smoke very little may not experience such complications, but lifelong heavy smokers are often unable to safely integrate implants into their jawbones.
Like tobacco use, alcohol consumption may slow down the body’s natural healing ability. If you drink heavily, then you’re not necessarily unable to receive a dental implant. Just know that abstaining from alcohol consumption altogether is necessary to ensure the highest chance of a successful dental implant procedure!
Young age is not an adverse health condition (quite the contrary, in fact). But because a minor’s facial structure is still undergoing natural changes, it is usually best not to secure a permanent implant to their jawbone. Natural growth may cause a dental implant to become misaligned, as well as make its future replacement dangerous if not outright impossible.
Most dental surgeons will decline to perform a dental implant procedure on patients who are younger than 18 years of age, although they may make exceptions following in-depth analysis. Conversely, there is no set age limit for dental implants. A 100-year-old patient could theoretically have the procedure so long as they are in good health!
Chronic Health Conditions
If you are currently living with one of several chronic health conditions, then you may be unable to safely receive and recover from a dental implant procedure. Osteoporosis, which makes bones weak and brittle, can naturally make the jawbone too fragile to securely anchor a titanium cylinder. Diabetes, when improperly managed, often presents unique complications during both the surgery and recovery periods. Parkinson’s disease increases the risk of infection and other potentially dangerous complications. And this is not an exhaustive list of health conditions which could complicate surgery by any measure.
Fortunately, very few chronic health conditions make receiving a dental implant outright impossible. With careful consideration of your unique medical history, your oral surgeon will be able to make an informed decision as to whether or not a dental implant is safe for you!
Would you like to know more about whether a dental implant is a good option for you? If you live in the greater St. Cloud, Minnesota area, then we welcome you to contact Centrasota Dental today to schedule a consultation. Dr. Congdon and his team are always available to help you enjoy your best smile!