If you have lost a tooth, you may already be looking forward to receiving a dental implant. However, you may not realize that every person is not automatically a good candidate for the prosthetic device.
Here are a few characteristics that can affect the suitability of a dental implant restoration.
The success of a dental implant is partially dependent on your gingival health. Gums that are not healthy may not heal properly around the implant wound.
Additionally, inflamed gums may be more likely to develop a gingival infection called peri-implantitis, which affects the gums and the jawbone that support the implant. Peri-implantitis can cause the bone of the jaw to deteriorate, preventing the stabilization of the dental implant.
People who smoke or chew tobacco products may develop problems with their implant wound. Tobacco releases inflammatory chemicals that can make it difficult for the soft tissues to heal.
Also, people who smoke may have lower levels of oxygen in their blood. Oxygen is essential to proper wound healing. Tobacco users are also more likely to suffer from gum disease. Severe forms of gum disease, such as periodontitis, may cause bone loss around the implanted device.
A thick, healthy jawbone can help ensure the success of a dental implant. During its placement, a dental implant is inserted into the bone of the jaw. If the bone surrounding the device is too thin or brittle, it may not support the implant's insertion.
Before a dental implant is placed, the dentist x-rays the bones of the jaw. If the jawbone has degenerated, a bone graft may be used to restore its thickness before a dental implant procedure is performed.
Even if your gums and jawbone are healthy, grinding your teeth or clenching your jaws can cause a dental implant to fail. As you grind the teeth of the top palate against those of the bottom jaw, the force of the grinding can cause a dental implant to move from its position in the bone. This shifting can break the connection formed by the integration of the implant with the jawbone. Since the connection between the bone and the device does not re-establish, the implant fails.
If you do suffer from a dental grinding disorder, such as bruxism, be sure to wear a mouth guard at night as you sleep. A guard should also be worn during contact sports.
To find out if dental implants are right for you, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.