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Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?

Feb 09, 2024
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You’ve lost a tooth, and you’re looking for the best replacement option. If you want to join the millions who’ve had their teeth successfully replaced with dental implants, there are some rules of thumb.

It used to be that when you lost a tooth, you had two options — a dental bridge or just leaving the gap in your teeth. These days, people are flocking to a much better option — dental implants. In fact, about five million implants are placed each year, and this number is expected to grow as our population ages and more people lose teeth.

Our dentists at Baton Rouge Perio, including Dr. Barry Biner, Dr. Jenny Herman, and Dr. Kenneth Markle, have done our part to add to the rising numbers in dental implants. As tooth replacement options go, dental implants excel in both form and function, making them an excellent choice.

That said, not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants. In the following, we review some rules of thumb for successful dental implants.

Do you have enough jawbone tissue?

The reason why the dental implant is such a great tooth replacement option is because it replaces your lost tooth, right down to the roots. With a dental implant, we place a metal post into your jaw and bone grows up around it, fusing it into position.

This not only provides superior stability, it also prevents further bone loss after you lose a tooth — in just 12 months, you can lose up to 50% of the bone in the ridge area after you lose a tooth.

If you’ve waited to get the implant, this bone loss may have already occurred and you may not have enough bone left to support the implant.

This doesn’t mean, however, that we can’t do the implant. It does mean that there will be more steps as we add more bone through bone grafting or a sinus lift.

Are you healthy?

Another consideration is your overall health. For the dental implant to be a success, you want everything functioning well so that the implant fuses into place and you can fight any possible infection. For example, if you have a preexisting cardiovascular condition that affects blood flow or you have uncontrolled diabetes, you may not be a good candidate for the implant.

Are you a non-smoker?

When patients come to see us for a dental implant, we always ask about tobacco use. Smoking (and chewing) is bad for your health under any circumstance, but these habits are especially bad for surgery. While minor, placing a dental implant is still a surgery.

According to the World Health Organization, “Smoking distorts a patient’s immune system and can delay healing, increasing the risk of infection at the wound site. Smoking just one cigarette decreases the body’s ability to deliver necessary nutrients for healing after surgery.” 

So, we ask that candidates for dental implants don’t use tobacco in any form.

Are you committed to great oral health?

Putting in the time and money for a dental implant is one thing, but we also want to see you back up these commitments with a renewed commitment to your oral care. This means keeping up with your at-home regimen — brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and rinsing regularly. 

As well, you need to keep up with your regular dental exams with us so we can monitor the implant as well as your overall tooth and gum health.

If you can check all of these boxes, there’s every reason to believe that you’ll make a great candidate for a dental implant. To find out more, please contact our office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to schedule a consultation.