Almost everyone is a candidate for dental implants. If you’ve lost one or more teeth, then it’s likely that dental implants are the best way for you to replace those teeth. You’ll get attractive replacement teeth that are fully functional: no loose dentures.
But before you get dental implants, you have to make sure that now is the right time for you.
Active Oral Infections
Dental implants are unlike your natural teeth in that they can’t get cavities. You’ll never need a filling in your dental implant, but that doesn’t mean implants are immune to bacteria in your mouth.
Like natural teeth, gum disease can develop around dental implants. This infection can spread from other areas of the mouth, either other places where you have gum disease or cavities in your neighboring teeth. If you have active oral infections, we will want to treat those before placing dental implants.
Some symptoms that might indicate you have oral infections that could be a problem:
- Bleeding gums
- Red or swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Tooth pain
- A tooth darker than those around it
There’s no point in placing an implant that we expect to get infected. If we identify infections in your mouth, we’ll recommend treatment for the infections. Sometimes that treatment can be incorporated into your dental implant procedure. If, for example, you have an infected tooth, we might recommend extraction and replacement with a dental implant that can be placed at the same time as other implants.
It’s not just your oral health we have to consider when placing dental implants. Although the implant procedure is relatively minor surgery, it is still surgery, and it’s important to make sure you’re in good health for your surgery.
We also have to consider whether your overall health might impact the survival of your dental implants. For example, diabetes may put your dental implants at risk if your blood sugar isn’t properly controlled. We may recommend waiting until you are able to control your blood sugar before getting dental implants.
We also have to consider whether your medications may put your dental implants at risk. Antidepressants are one of the most common prescriptions taken in the US, and they have been shown to make implants six times more likely to fail. Antibiotics and osteoporosis medication may also affect dental implants. Even over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and others in the NSAID family can increase your risk of losing implants.
We want to make sure you are healthy enough for surgery. If we have doubts about your health, we might ask that you get your doctor to sign off on a procedure before we place your implants.
You’re Not Ready to Make a Change
There are many reasons why you might have lost the teeth that you are planning to replace with dental implants. Many of these are outside of your control or won’t affect your dental implants.
But some of these factors are in your control, and sometimes they can impact your implants. For example, if you smoke or use other forms of tobacco, it may have contributed to your tooth loss, and it might put your implants at risk. You have to be prepared to quit tobacco at least temporarily during the healing period for your dental implants. And heavy drinking can also put your implants at risk. You have to be prepared to avoid drinking for several days after placement of your implants and cut down to moderate alcohol intake after that.
You also have to make a commitment to taking care of your dental implants. Good oral hygiene is critical to implant survival. If you’re not prepared to take care of them, implants might not be the best choice right now.
Dental Implants Are Right Most of the Time
These are all important factors we have to consider when we talk to you about getting dental implants. We want to make sure that your dental implants have the highest chance of success, so we work hard to make sure that now is the best time for you to get dental implants.