Am I a Dental Implant Candidate?

Dental implants have helped thousands to reclaim the quality of life they enjoyed before losing most or all of their teeth. The numerous benefits dental implants provide are very enticing to those who wish to once again enjoy a fully functional smile, but not everyone is a suitable dental implants candidate. Depending upon your circumstances, you may require a treatment such as a bone graft or sinus lift before you are able to accommodate dental implants. Age, tobacco use, auto-immune deficiencies, diseases such as diabetes, and other circumstances can also affect your candidacy. Your dentist or oral surgeon will conduct a thorough evaluation to determine whether you are a good dental implants candidate.

before dental implants vs after dental implants
A dental implant in combination with a custom crown can replace a single missing tooth.

Denture Wearers and Patients with Bridges

Those who have experienced recent trauma or tooth loss can be excellent candidates for dental implants. However, those who have worn a restoration such as dentures or a dental bridge for some time could also benefit greatly from dental implants. Implants are excellent for making dentures feel more natural, and helping you speak and eat more efficiently. Both bridge and denture wearers can benefit from implants because they can actually help you retain valuable bone mass in your jaw.

Sufficient Jaw Bone Structure

A fundamental characteristic of a good dental implant candidate is sufficient jaw bone structure. When you lose a tooth, your body will eventually begin resorbing bone cells in that area of the jaw. As time passes, you may no longer have enough bone structure to accommodate an implant. In some cases, your oral surgeon may be able to perform a bone graft, transferring healthy bone (sometimes from your hip or tibia) to the treatment site that will eventually fuse to your jaw, replacing lost structure.

Grafting can strengthen your jawbone in preparation for dental implants.

Position of the Sinus Cavities

If you need dental implants in your upper jaw, X-rays will reveal if you first require a sinus lift to avoid interference with the sinus cavities. In this procedure, a bone graft is placed between your jaw and the sinus cavities. Meanwhile, the sinus membrane is lifted upward to make room for the bone. With your sinus cavities repositioned, your jaw can safely accommodate dental implants.

Lifestyle

Smoking and heavy drinking hinders your body’s ability to heal. The complete fusion of the jaw bone to the dental implant is the cornerstone of successful dental implant placement, so these lifestyle choices can make a world of difference in determining candidacy. In some cases, you may be able to abstain from these habits for a substantial time period before and after implant surgery in order to make dental implant surgery a success. Your oral surgeon can help you determine if changing your habits can help you to become a dental implants candidate.

Determining Candidacy

The surest way to find out if you are a dental implants candidate is to schedule a consultation with your dentist. A battery of x-rays and analysis of your medical history can more accurately determine if you can safely accommodate dental implants.

Oral Surgical Associates

At Oral Surgical Associates, we use advanced tools and gentle techniques to make oral surgery as comfortable as possible. Drs. Armando Gama and Eugene Morris are members of various prestigious organizations:

  • American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
  • American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • American Dental Association
  • American Dental Society of Anesthesiology
  • International Congress of Oral Implantologists
  • Montana Dental Society

To schedule a consultation with one of our doctors, request an appointment online or call us at (406) 728-6840.

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Missoula Office

1547 S Higgins Ave
Ste D
Missoula, MT 59801

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