After yet another friend of yours gets dental implants, you resolve to talk to your dentist about getting them for yourself. But instead of immediately saying yes, they ask you a bunch of questions and examine your mouth. It turns out that you aren’t able to get implants right away.
As disappointing as it is to get this kind of news, finding issues before you get implants is always better than discovering them afterward. Read on to learn about what could be standing between you and the replacement smile of your dreams.
Dental implants are supposed to offer a fresh start for your smile, but if your mouth starts out with an infection like gum disease, the implants will likely fail. This inflammatory disease attacks not only your gum tissue but also the jawbone, both of which are essential for implant success.
If you have gum disease, your dentist must treat the condition prior to placing the dental implants. This process of getting gum disease under control may take up to a few months, but once your mouth is healthy again, then you can trust that your new teeth will have a stable foundation.
Insufficient Jawbone Density
For the implants to be successful and stable, the jawbone needs to grow and surround the implant posts. However, for patients who don’t have enough bone tissue, the implants don’t have a chance to become embedded, even several months after placement.
During your consultation, your dentist can check your jawbone density and determine whether a bone graft is necessary. In that case, a graft (either from real or synthetic bone) can reinforce the jawbone and add strength for the implants.
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
Before proceeding with dental implants, your dentist will want to learn more about your medical history and the medications you’re taking. They need to know whether your body will be receptive to the implants. For example, if you have osteoporosis, a condition that affects bones, you may be at a higher risk of implant failure. The same is true for those with uncontrolled diabetes.
Make sure you’re open with your dentist about your health history and medications. If needed, they can work with you and your medical provider on managing any conditions while setting yourself up for success.
Bad Oral Health Habits
Prior to placing implants, your dentist may ask about certain habits in your daily routine. Do you smoke? Do you skip brushing or flossing? Do you regularly chew on ice or other hard objects? These bad habits may seem small, but they can ultimately lead to implant failure.
Although correcting these bad habits may be challenging, it is important to prioritize your oral health when preparing for implants. Forming new, healthy habits will make the implant process easier and ensure the longevity of your replacement teeth.
Ultimately, your dentist can help you overcome whatever is preventing you from getting dental implants. With a little patience and some work, you can still qualify for this amazing treatment.
About the Author
Dr. Greg Ritchie has about 20 years of dentistry experience. In his continuing education, he has studied at the world-renowned Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. For the past several years, he has been named one of Texas’s Super Dentists in Texas Monthly. If you would like to discuss dental implants with Dr. Ritchie, you can contact him at Ritchie Dental Group through the website or by calling 830-637-2607.