Have you got at least one missing tooth and considering dental implants as a replacement option? If so, you’re probably wondering how they work, are they worth it and whether you are a suitable candidate for them? The truth about dental implants is that while they are one of the best options available for replacing teeth, several factors could mean that they’re not the best choice. Let’s take a look.
What are dental implants, and how do they work?
Dental Implants are titanium metal posts surgically inserted into the jawbone. These posts serve as tooth roots to anchor artificial teeth into the jaw – a bit like tooth roots. A single dental implant can be used with a crown to replace a missing tooth, or several implants can together support a fixed bridge to replace multiple missing teeth.
Implants are an increasingly popular treatment, and with care, they can last for many years. They are secure and function, feel and look just like a natural tooth. However, in truth, the following circumstances could be problematic for having implants placed.
Poor Oral Health
For the dental implant procedure to be effective, you must have excellent oral health. So, the dentist will scrutinise your mouth, and if you have any signs of active gum disease or tooth decay, these will need to be addressed before dental implant surgery can go ahead. Furthermore, you must have sufficient healthy bone in the jaw to support the dental implants.
The truth about dental implants is they are a strong, reliable tooth replacement option because once placed into the healthy bone, new cells generated by the bone fuse the implant firmly in place. However, this can only happen when you have good oral health and no evidence of gum or periodontal disease that could compromise the dental implant and the structures in your mouth that support it.
What happens if you have bone loss?
Truthfully, all is not lost if you have bone loss in your jaw. A bone graft is a common procedure performed in dentistry that can help build up the bone to have sufficient density to retain a dental implant.
As well as good oral health, you must also be in good general health to have a dental implant. Some medical conditions may make it more difficult if you are considering dental implants—although it doesn’t necessarily rule out the procedure entirely.
If you’re living with diabetes, you should be aware of how diabetes can affect your dental implants. While implants are not affected by diabetes per se, the condition causes many other complications that can interfere with the successful placement of an implant and its ongoing health.
The truth is that diabetes can slow down healing and may cause chronic infections—which will be a significant problem after dental implant placement. Keeping the area infection-free is crucial to retaining the implant long-term.
Furthermore, diabetes can affect saliva production, leading to a dry mouth. As saliva plays a role in clearing away harmful bacteria in the mouth, anything detrimental to this process can increase bacteria and gum disease. Thus, it’s vital that anyone with diabetes keeps a close eye on their overall health and regularly visits their doctor and dentist.
Osteoporosis affects bone density, and women after menopause are particularly prone to it following a reduction of oestrogen, essential for bone health. The jawbone may not be healthy enough for a dental implant, although a bone grafting procedure may be able to rectify this.
A healthy heart is essential for pumping blood around the body efficiently. Blood contains vital nutrients, and if you have heart disease, this may impede the process and could potentially have repercussions for your body’s healing after dental implant surgery.
An autoimmune disease is a group of medical conditions in which the body’s immune system, which usually protects us against foreign intruders like bacteria and viruses, attacks healthy body tissue and even biocompatible materials, such as titanium – the most common material for dental implants. The result could be implant rejection.
We’re all aware of how much smoking affects our health, but it has particular repercussions for oral health. The toxins from cigarette smoking are drawn straight into the oral cavity and affect blood flow to the gums, which exacerbates gum disease and may contribute to peri-implantitis, a disease similar to gum disease that affects dental implants.
By impeding blood flow, smoking means that essential nutrients needed to fight infection and grow healthy tissue are diminished, which could have a detrimental effect following dental implant surgery.
The truth about dental implants is they are more likely to fail sooner in smokers. For this reason, many dentists now turn away smokers unless they are prepared to quit smoking for good.
The Truth About Dental implants – The Takeaway
Dental implants are a great option for missing teeth, and while they are suitable for many people, you’ll need a thorough examination from a dentist to confirm your eligibility. Find out more about dental implants and dispel the myths by booking an appointment with us today.
Call us now on (02) 9158 6312.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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