Dental implants are the top recommended option for replacement teeth. Whether you need to replace one, a few, or all of your teeth, there are dental implant configurations that may work to restore your smile.
But before you can get dental implants, an evaluation must be conducted by your dentist to determine whether or not you are a candidate for this type of restoration. Most people are candidates for dental implants one way or another. Are you? Here’s what dentists take into consideration when it comes to recommending dental implants.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
To understand what makes someone eligible or not eligible for dental implants, it helps to understand how they work. A dental implant is a titanium post with threads like a screw that is surgically placed in the bone of your jaw. The implant fuses with the bone through a process called osseointegration, which takes a few months to form a solid bond.
Once the implant has fused with the bone, the bond is secure enough to last a lifetime. The abutment (the post that connects to the prosthetic) is added later, and then the prosthetic is attached. A single dental implant can replace one tooth and multiple implants can support a bridge or dentures.
Top Considerations For Dental Implant Readiness
When your dentist evaluates you for dental implant readiness, the top consideration is the condition of the jaw bone in the area where the implant will be placed. The bone must be thick enough, wide enough, and dense enough to support an implant.
If you have one or more teeth that have been missing for a while, such as a few months or more, the bone in your jaw may have partially or fully resorbed (dissolved). In the early stages of bone loss the bone begins to weaken and shrink. The longer the tooth remains absent, the weaker and smaller the bone gets until it can’t support a dental implant at all.
What Can I Do to Become a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Just because you are not a candidate now, doesn’t mean you can never be. There are options for people with bone loss in the jaw, such as:
- Mini dental implants. As you may imagine, mini dental implants are smaller than traditional implants. This means they require less bone structure to be placed. Not only can they be implanted in a smaller section of jaw bone, they encourage regeneration of the bone tissue to make the implant more secure over time.
- Bone grafting. There is a procedure called bone grafting that can make dental implants a possibility with limited bone density. A bone graft is a small bone fragment that is surgically placed under the gums on top of the existing bone to thicken it and encourage regeneration. A few months after bone grafting you may be eligible for dental implants.
Are Implants Better Than Traditional Bridges and Dentures?
There are many advantages of dental implants over traditional bridges and dentures, such as:
- More secure. Dental implants and implant supported bridges and dentures are held securely in place by the implants in the jaw. Implant supported dentures won’t slip out of place or chafe your gums the way traditional dentures can. And dental implants don’t rely on the healthy teeth for support the way a bridge does, which can damage the support teeth.
- Natural appearance. Dental implants and implant supported prosthetics look more natural because they are anchored in the jaw the way your natural teeth are.
- Prevent bone loss. The presence of dental implants in the jaw prevents the bone from resorbing, which preserves your natural facial structure and promotes better oral health.
Why Choose R. Renan Williams, DDS for Dental Implants?
Dr. Williams wants every patient to have the best dental health possible. This means that if dental implants are in your best interest, we will do our best to make them happen for you. One of the ways we do that is to offer mini dental implants to give more patients the option without bone grafting.