Dental implants are a remarkable innovation in dentistry. They are the first tooth replacement option that truly functions like natural teeth. You can bite and chew normally. They stay in place because they’re anchored in your jawbone.
Plus, dental implants are great for almost everyone who needs to replace a tooth (or several). To find out if they’re right for you, consider these simple questions. Only the first three can actually disqualify you from getting dental implants. The others are questions of preference and relative benefit.
Have You Lost or Are You Losing Teeth?
Dental implants are a replacement for missing teeth. In order to be a candidate for dental implants, you have to have lost one or more teeth–or be facing their loss in the near future.
Dental implants can help no matter how many teeth you have lost or are losing. They can work for just a single lost tooth or an entire arch of lost teeth, and anything in between. It also doesn’t matter which teeth you lost. Dental implants work just as well for molars (the square teeth in the back) as for incisors (the flat teeth in the front).
Are You Healthy Enough for Surgery?
Dental implants are placed in a relatively minor surgery. However, it is surgery, and that means we have to make sure you are healthy enough for the procedure. You should talk to your doctor about your overall health and whether the procedure, including any sedation dentistry or anesthesia you might want, will pose any problems for you.
We might also want to talk to your doctor directly. This can allow us to ask detailed medical questions that might matter for your procedure.
Has Your Jaw Finished Growing?
Dental implants are very similar to your natural teeth. However, they’re not identical to natural teeth. One of the ways they’re different is how they interact with your jawbone.
Natural teeth attach to the jaw with a ligament that is flexible and stimulates the growth and/or removal of bone around the tooth. Implants don’t have this–they attach directly to the jawbone.
Most of the time this doesn’t matter. It only makes a difference when the tooth needs to move because the jawbone is growing and new teeth are emerging, or if you’re getting orthodontic treatment. So it’s best to wait for dental implants until after your jaw has finished growing and you’re done with orthodontics, such as braces or Invisalign.
Are You Unhappy with Dentures?
Dentures are an old option for replacing missing teeth. Although dentures work well enough for many people, most denture wearers find they aren’t happy with them.
Dentures slip out of place frequently. They can fall out when talking, laughing, or sneezing. They don’t provide good biting and chewing force, so they limit your diet when you have them. It can be hard to speak clearly when wearing dentures. Plus, dentures often look unattractive and feel uncomfortable to wear.
If you experience these or other problems with your dentures, then dental implants might be a great choice for you. Dental implants solve all these problems, making them a great choice for people who don’t like their dentures.
What Is Your Oral Health Like?
Dental implants are so much like your natural teeth that they can be affected by poor oral health, too. Gum disease, especially, can impact your dental implants, causing them to fail early or potentially never integrate into your jaw.
Poor oral health does not make it impossible to get dental implants. However, for some people, we might want to treat oral health problems before we go through with placing your implants. This will help you have the best odds of successful and long-lasting dental implants.
Are You a Smoker?
Smoking is bad for your dental implants, as it is bad for your teeth. Smokers are more likely to have dental implants fail early or never integrate with the jawbone.
Being a smoker doesn’t mean you can’t get dental implants. However, you should be prepared to quit smoking at least temporarily when you get dental implants. For best results, you should also be prepared to quit smoking forever.
What Medications Are You Taking?
Some medications can interfere with dental implants. They might make it hard for implants to integrate into the jaw. They might increase your risk of rare complications related to dental implants.
The most common medications that can interfere with dental implants are bisphosphonates (taken for osteoporosis) and antidepressants. During your consultation, we will talk about your medications and help you understand the impact so you can make an informed decision about whether to go forward with implants or not.
Are You Committed to Caring for Implants?
One of the benefits of dental implants is that they can last a lifetime if properly cared for. Care for dental implants is relatively easy: brush, floss, and make regular dental visits.
However, if you want to get dental implants, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re committed to their care. If you are the kind of person who takes a casual attitude toward oral health, brushing and flossing irregularly and visiting the dentist only when you notice a problem, dental implants might not be right for you.
Get Dental Implants in Anchorage
If you think that dental implants will be a good solution for you, implant dentist Dr. Richard Crosby can help. Please call (907) 277-1098 or use our online form today to request a consultation at the Anchorage, AK dental office of Dr. Richard Crosby.