Residents of San Diego often choose dental implants to replace their missing teeth. Compared to dentures, tooth implants look, feel, and function just like any natural tooth. Consult an oral surgeon about whether implants could be the right choice for you.
Your jawbone has stopped developing.
Most people with missing teeth are adults, but it’s certainly possible for kids and adolescents to lose their adult teeth. Sports trauma and poor oral hygiene can cause this problem. If you’re a minor, your dentist may recommend a temporary solution until your jawbone stops developing. When you’re physically mature, you can revisit the idea of getting dental implants.
You lack certain chronic medical problems.
Your oral surgeon should have your full medical history, including any major medical treatments. Radiation treatment to the head or neck is one possible contraindication. Others can include diabetes, bleeding disorders like hemophilia, substantial immune deficiencies, and connective tissue disorders. If you must take medications that suppress the immune system, dental implants might not be appropriate for you. However, even if you have a possible contraindication, there’s no harm in consulting an oral surgeon. Some exceptions can be made, such as if your diabetes is well-controlled.
You aren’t currently pregnant.
Women who are pregnant or could possibly be pregnant are advised to wait to have non-emergency oral surgery, although routine, preventive dental care is recommended throughout pregnancy. Local dental anesthetics are safe for use during pregnancy, but implant surgery requires stronger pain control measures that could harm a developing fetus.
You have sufficient bone mass and reasonably healthy gums.
Dental implants require enough bone mass to firmly anchor them in place. Even if you lack sufficient bone mass, you may still have implants if you first have a bone augmentation procedure. And even if you have gum disease, you might be a good candidate for replacement teeth after your gum disease is treated.
You don’t smoke or drink alcohol to excess.
Smoking is a major cause of implant failure, and it also significantly increases the risks associated with surgery and the post-op recovery period. If you’re currently a smoker, you’ll be instructed to quit before the surgeon will consider performing implant procedures. Alcohol abuse can also be problematic, as individuals affected by it tend to have poor oral hygiene and poor compliance with post-op care instructions.