Dental Implants: What Makes a Good Candidate and Who Should Not Get Them

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Dental implants have become one of the most popular ways to replace missing teeth. They are long-lasting, look and feel like natural teeth, and can last a lifetime with proper care. However, not everyone is a suitable candidate for dental implants.

This blog post will discuss who makes a good candidate for dental implants and who should avoid them. If you’re considering this procedure, keep reading!

What Are Dental Implants?

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Dental implants are small metal posts surgically placed in the jawbone beneath the gums. They are made of titanium, a biocompatible metal that fuses with the jawbone over time.

There are three forms of dental implants: subperiosteal, endosteal and zygomatic.

  • Subperiosteal implants are placed under the gum but above the jawbone. As the gum tissue heals, it forms around the metal post, anchoring it.
  • Endosteal implants are the most common type. They are implanted directly into the jawbone and fuse with the bone over time.
  • Zygomatic implants are placed in the cheekbone.

Once in place, these dental implants act as a sturdy foundation for artificial teeth or a dental crown. A dental implant abutment, or a small metal connector, is then used to attach the replacement tooth to the dental implant.

Thanks to dental implants, people who have lost one or more teeth can enjoy a beautiful, healthy smile once again. Aside from missing a tooth, other dental conditions could be addressed with dental implants.

Who Might Need Dental Implants?

Dental implants are usually recommended for adults who:

  • Have missing teeth due to injury, tooth decay, or disease
  • Needs support for loose dentures or bridges
  • Needs help in preventing the face from sinking in (a condition called facial collapse)
  • Has infected tooth that needs tooth extraction
  • Needs help to chew and speak properly
  • Are starting to experience jawbone loss

As you can see, there are many reasons why someone might need dental implants. If you think you might need dental implants, talk to your dentist to learn more.

What Makes a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

When it comes to ensuring the success of dental implants, dentists consider all aspects, including the patient’s suitability and readiness for the procedure. The best candidates for dental implants are:

  • People with good oral health. Patients must have healthy gums with no signs of gum disease.
  • People who are committed to oral hygiene. Maintenance of the implant requires flossing and brushing regularly, as well as regular visits to the dentists for checkup and cleaning.
  • People who have enough bone to support the implant. Since implants are embedded in bone, it’s important to have sufficient bone to avoid implant failure.
  • People who are willing to undergo surgery. Despite the high success rate of implant procedures, there is always a risk of complications due to the surgical aspect of the procedure. If you’re wary about having surgery, dental implants might not be suitable for you.

Every patient who wants to get dental implants undergo a thorough screening process performed by the dentist. Unfortunately, not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants.

Who Is Not Suitable for Dental Implants?

Dental implants are not for everyone. While they are an excellent solution for many people who have lost teeth, there are some cases where dental implants are not the best dental treatment option. Those who are not considered good candidates for dental implants are:
People with Active Gum Disease
Gum disease can cause the gums to become inflamed and lead to bone loss. This can make it difficult for dental implants to fuse properly with the jawbone. If you have active gum disease, It is important to have it treated before getting dental implants. Otherwise, there is a risk that the implants will fail.
People Who Smoke
Smoking increases the risk of dental implant failure in smokers because it slows down the healing process. If you are a heavy smoker, you may need to quit smoking before getting dental implants, or you may need to undergo a special treatment to increase the chances of success.
People Who Have Health Conditions that Affect Healing

Certain health conditions can also make someone a less ideal candidate for dental implants because they can affect how the body heals. Some of the conditions that can affect healing include:

  • Diabetes: The healing process after surgery is much slower for diabetics, which increases the risk of post-operative infection. Additionally, people with diabetes are more prone to bone loss and gum tissue changes which can affect implant success.
  • Cancer: Cancer treatment can adversely affect the blood vessels, bone, and soft tissues in the mouth, making it difficult to place dental implants and affecting healing. Cancer patients are also at an increased risk of infection, and dental implants can provide a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • HIV/AIDS: Patients diagnosed with HIV or AIDS are often immunocompromised, increasing their risk for infection. Also, HIV and AIDS can cause oral thrush, making it difficult for the mouth to heal after surgery.
People with Blood Clotting Disorders
Dental implants are not recommended for people with blood clotting disorders because implants may elicit clotting reactions in those with disorders such as hemophilia. Furthermore, dental implants require a period of healing to fuse with the jawbone, and individuals with blood clotting disorders may have difficulty healing. Because of these, dental implants are not considered a safe or suitable treatment option.
People with Osteoporosis
Dental implants are placed directly into the jawbone, and the osseointegration process requires strong and healthy bones. Osteoporosis causes the bones to become weak and fragile, which can lead to implant failure. In addition, the placement of dental implants can significantly strain the bones, leading to further damage in patients with osteoporosis.
Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women
Pregnant and breastfeeding women are at greater risk for gum infections and changes in their jawbones due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This could lead to implant failure.
People with Weak or Insufficient Jaw Bone
One of the main reasons why someone might not be a good candidate for dental implants is weak or insufficient jaw bone. To support dental implants, the jaw bone needs to be strong enough. If it is not, then there is a risk that the implants will not be able to fuse properly with the bone. In these cases, bone grafting may be necessary to provide sufficient support for dental implants.

When Is Dental Bone Grafting Needed?

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While dental implants are a safe and effective treatment for tooth loss, they require a healthy jawbone to be successful. A bone graft can provide the necessary support for dental implants in cases where the jawbone has deteriorated. Dental bone grafting is a surgical procedure that is sometimes required before dental implant surgery. The purpose of dental bone grafting is to build up the jawbone so that it can support a dental implant. Dental bone grafting is a safe and effective procedure that can help dental implant patients achieve a healthy and functional smile.

Are There Possible Risks With Dental Implants?

While dental implants offer many potential benefits, it’s important to be aware of the risks involved before deciding to get them. Some of these risks and potential complications are:
Infection
The most common symptoms of an infected dental implant are pain, swelling, and redness. This occurs when the implant site is not cleaned and maintained, causing the bacteria in plaque to cause infection. With prompt treatment, most infections can be successfully treated, and the implant can be preserved.
Gum Recession

One risk of getting dental implants is gum recession. Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue around the implant starts to wear away. There are a few reasons why dental implants might cause gum recession.

  1. If the implant is not brushed well, plaque will accumulate, leading to gum diseases which cause gum recession.
  2. If the implant is not positioned correctly, it can put extra pressure on the gum tissue, causing it to recede.
  3. Some people are more prone to gum recession than others. If you have a family history of gum disease or other inflammatory conditions, you may be more likely to experience gum recession after getting dental implants.

Gum recession can cause the implant to become loose and eventually fall out. In severe cases, gum recession can also damage the bone around the implant.

Nerve Damage
Nerve damage can occur if the dental implant placement is too close to the nerves in the jawbone. This can lead to numbness, tingling, or pain in the teeth, gums, lips, or chin. In some rare cases, the nerve damage can be permanent.
Injury to Surrounding Structures
One of the risks associated with dental implants is injury to the surrounding structures which usually occurs when the implant is not positioned correctly and comes into contact with the roots of the nearby teeth. If this happens, it can damage the surrounding teeth and bones. This is why it is important to make sure that you get dental implants from a qualified and experienced dentist. They will be able to place the implant correctly and minimise the risks.
Sinus Problems

When a dental implant is used to replace upper teeth, there is a risk of the implant penetrating the sinus cavity. Sinus perforation is a serious complication that can lead to pain, infection, and damage to the nearby teeth. While the risk of sinus perforation is relatively low, it is important to be aware of the potential complication before undergoing dental implant surgery.

Overall, dental implants are considered safe for most people. Your dentist will take the necessary precautions and look for ways to ensure the success of the dental implant procedure. However, discussing the risks with your dentist before dental implant surgery is still important.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to dental implants, there are some things to keep in mind. First, dental implants are not for everyone. Specific criteria must be met for dental implants to be a tooth replacement option. For instance, dental implants require good oral health. This means that candidates for dental implants must have healthy gums and sufficient bone density to support the implant. Additionally, dental implants require a commitment to oral hygiene. Candidates must be willing to brush and floss regularly and see their dentist for regular checkups.

That being said, dental implants can be an excellent option for those who are good candidates. Dental implants provide a durable, long-lasting solution for missing or damaged teeth. They can also improve the appearance of your smile and help you regain confidence in your appearance.

If you’re interested in dental implants, a friendly dentist from Comfort Care Dental would be happy to talk to you about the benefits and risks involved. Our team of experts will work with you to determine if dental implants are the right choice for you and help you through the entire implant process. You can book a dental appointment through our website or call us at (08) 9349-0800.

Author

Dr. Karthik Lakkaraju

For Dr Karthik, dentistry is the complete package. He most enjoys the feeling he gets when he sees a patient achieve a beautiful smile, or can put an end to pain and increase the quality of life. He believes oral health is a mirror of general health and reflects the person’s personality and confidence.

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