Am I A Dental Implant Candidate?
Here at David R. Moyer Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in Phoenix, AZ we understand the difficulties that come with tooth loss. We want all of our patients who have experienced tooth loss to have great tooth replacement options, which is why we offer dental implants.
Dental implants can replace teeth both in form and function. Not everyone who wants dental implants is the ideal candidate for them, however. Because dental implants are surgically placed into the bone of the jaw and rely on the health of your mouth for success, there are some requirements that everyone must meet to be a good candidate for dental implants.
Are Dental Implants Really Worth it?
Over the past decade, the success rates of dental implants have been very high from year to year. Most studies show that dental implant success rates are between 96-99%. We are very proud to boast that we have always had an extremely high dental implant success rate. The reason that we can be so successful with our dental implant placements is that we understand what it takes for a dental implant to survive in the long-term.
"Most studies show
that dental implant success rates are
between 96 - 99%."
What Happens to Bone Density When a Tooth is Lost?A common misconception is that when you have a tooth that is giving you problems, the cheapest option available is removing the tooth. If you have a tooth that has experienced significant decay or trauma, we are often able to save it with a crown or a root canal. Those options may cost more initially than an extraction, so some patients are inclined to believe that a tooth extraction is the lowest cost solution – the truth is that there are many costly consequences to having a tooth removed and not replaced.
When a tooth is lost or removed and not immediately replaced, the bone in your jaw loses important feedback. Every single part of your body relies on some form of feedback, and if that feedback is lost, that part of your body will begin to atrophy. In the case of the jaw bone, it relies on each of your teeth for tactile feedback that occurs when you rest your jaw, eat, or speak. When you remove a tooth and don’t replace it with a dental implant, the bone in your jaw loses that tactile feedback and will eventually begin to recede. Eventually, with enough bone recession in your jaw, you will begin to notice a change in the visible structure of your face; it will take on a sunken look, typical of those who have experienced significant tooth loss. At some point during this bone recession, you will no longer have enough healthy bone in your jaw to support a dental implant.
If you have experienced significant bone loss in your jaw and would like to have dental implants place, we will sometimes opt for a bone graft procedure to bring your bone levels to a point where it can support a dental implant.
What Happens to Gum Tissue When a Tooth is Lost?The health of gums and soft tissues in the mouth is just as important as tooth and bone health. Gum health plays a direct role in the health of your teeth. Many people don’t realize it, but gums are affected by the same bacteria that cause cavities in your teeth. Plaque and tartar that builds up on the surface of your teeth can, over time, infect the tooth with a cavity and lead to tooth loss. Similarly, plaque and tartar that builds up on the surface of the roots of your teeth can infect your gums, leading to tooth and bone loss in the jaw. When the gums become infected with plaque and tartar, that is a condition that is called periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is a serious issue that has two stages; early(known as gum disease) and late (known as periodontal disease). In the early stages, gum disease can be treated and even reversed. It can be hard to realize that you have gum disease because the signs of it are fairly subtle and pain/discomfort is not a symptom. Common symptoms that accompany gum disease are:
Once the disease goes from the early stage to the late stage, it cannot be cured, only treated. Periodontal disease can make it hard for your mouth to recover from dental implant surgery and can lead to aesthetic issues with the finished product. We will sometimes suggest that you have a soft tissue graft if you suffer from periodontal disease and would like to have dental implants surgically placed.
Who is the Ideal Dental Implant Candidate?We want all of our dental implant placement procedures to be successful, which is why we have a set of standards for patients to meet who are interested in having dental implants placed. In order to ensure the procedure is successful, the implant patient must have a healthy mouth before having a dental implant or many dental implants placed. We place the dental implants into the bone of your jaw, so your jawbone must have enough healthy bone structure to be able to support a dental implant. We also want the soft tissues in your mouth to be healthy and free from infection, so that the healing process is fast and efficient.
What are the Success Rates of Dental Implants?Over the past decade or so, the success rates of dental implants have reached an impressive pinnacle. Depending on what study you are looking at, the dental implant success rate in the United States is somewhere between 96-99%. Such incredible success rates are thanks to the knowledge base around the procedure, as well as the biocompatible materials that we use in dental implant placement procedure.
What if I'm not an Ideal Candidate for Implants?If you want dental implants, but are worried that you might not be the ideal dental implant candidate, don’t worry! Not everyone can be the ideal candidate, and some patients simply need a little bit more work done before their implant placement procedure than others. Even if you're not the ideal candidate, but you are missing teeth and want to replace them, we can help turn you into one with bone grafting or other solutions. When you come in to have a consultation about implant placement, we will build a treatment plan for you ahead of time so that you know what to expect. We are with you every step of the way!
Questions About Dental Implants?If you still have questions about whether you are a good dental implant candidate, or if you are ready to schedule your dental implant consultation, please call us at 480.935.6295 to get started. We are looking forward to seeing you at our Phoenix dental office!