How to Qualify for Dental Implants: Revitalise Your Smile

How to Qualify for Dental Implants: Revitalise Your Smile

If you’re one of the millions of people who have lost one or more natural teeth, you may be wondering about the factors affecting eligibility for dental implants. Dental implants are an increasingly popular choice for tooth replacement, but not everyone qualifies for this cosmetic dentistry procedure.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what dental implants are, their benefits, and the qualifications you need to meet to be a viable candidate for the procedure.

Whether you’re missing one tooth or several, this post will help you determine if dental implants are the right choice.

Summary of the Article

  • Good oral health habits improve dental implant candidacy.

  • Healthy gums are essential for successful dental implant treatment.

  • Adequate bone density supports dental implants.

  • Chronic illnesses and medications can impact dental implant candidacy.

  • Age is a factor to consider for dental implant candidacy.

  • Quitting smoking is essential for successful dental implant treatment.

  • A comprehensive treatment plan is necessary for dental implant candidacy.

  • Several types of dental implants are available for different needs.

  • Cost considerations are important when deciding on dental implants.

Good Oral Health Habits

Good oral health habits are essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. They’re also critical for anyone considering dental implants. With proper care, dental implants may be a viable option. That’s why it’s crucial to have a healthy mouth before and after receiving dental implants.

Brushing and flossing are fundamental practices that promote good oral health. Brushing twice daily and flossing daily helps remove trapped food particles, debris, and bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Using fluoride toothpaste that strengthens tooth enamel and prevents cavities is also beneficial.

Some tips for optimal brushing and flossing include:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush in a gentle, circular motion to avoid injuring your gums.
  • Brush teeth for at least two minutes, cleaning all surfaces.
  • Floss gently between each tooth, using a back-and-forth motion.

On the other hand, tobacco and alcohol use can harm teeth and gum tissue. Nicotine and other chemicals from these products can lead to gum disease, weakening the bone supporting teeth and implants.

Alcohol consumption also increases the risk of gum disease and oral cancer. If you’re a smoker or drinker, you should consider quitting or reducing your use before and after dental implant surgery.

Other good oral health habits to consider include:

  • Using an antibacterial mouthwash to reduce plaque and risk of periodontal disease.
  • Avoiding sugary foods and drinks that can promote tooth decay.
  • Drinking plenty of water helps flush away bacteria and keep your mouth hydrated.

Healthy Gums

Healthy gums play a vital role in dental implants. They’re responsible for protecting the bone which supports the tooth implants. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain healthy gums before and after undergoing a dental implant procedure.

If you have gum disease, you may experience symptoms such as red, swollen, or bleeding gums, bad breath, and gum recession. If not addressed, gum disease can progress to periodontitis, which can cause bone loss and tooth loss. Seek treatment if you experience any of them.

Dental treatment options for gum disease may include:

  • Scaling and root planing.
    Scaling and root planing involve deep cleaning the gums and tooth roots to remove bacteria and tartar buildup.

  • Antibiotic use.
    Antibiotics can be prescribed to help control bacterial infections.

  • Additional treatment.
    Additional surgery may be necessary in severe cases to remove damaged tissue or graft new tissue onto the gums.

Gum disease can be prevented by practising proper dental care and visiting an experienced dentist for routine check-ups and professional cleanings. By maintaining healthy gums, you can increase your chances of meeting the requirements for dental implants.

Adequate Bone Density

Adequate bone density is a crucial factor in the success of dental implants. The dental implant post needs to be anchored in the healthy jawbone to achieve a stable base for the replacement tooth. Therefore, having sufficient bone density before dental implant placement is necessary.

Factors that can affect bone density include:

  • Age
    Bone density can decrease as we age, making it more challenging to support dental implants.

  • Smoking
    Smoking can hinder the healing process and reduce bone density.

  • Poor oral hygiene
    Gum disease and other oral health issues can weaken the bone that supports teeth and implants.

  • Osteoporosis
    This condition can cause the bones to become brittle and weak, making it challenging to support dental implants.

If you don’t have an adequate bone mass to support dental implants, there are several options to consider:

  • Bone grafting
    This involves transplanting bone tissue to the implant site to promote new bone growth.

  • Sinus lift
    This involves lifting the sinus membrane and adding bone to the upper jaw to support dental implants.

  • Ridge expansion
    This involves sectioning the bone into an outer and inner part and placing a bone graft between them.

Work with a qualified dental surgeon to determine the most suitable option for increasing bone density and stopping further bone loss before oral surgery.

General Health Factors

One of the most significant factors affecting eligibility for dental implants includes overall health. Chronic medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease can impact dental implant candidacy.

Diabetes can affect the healing process and increase the risk of infection, while heart disease can put additional stress on the body during the surgical procedure. Working with your qualified health practitioner and implant dentist to manage your condition before getting dental implants is essential if you have a chronic illness.

Some ways to manage chronic health conditions before dental surgery include:

  • For those with diabetes, control blood sugar levels through diet, exercise, and medication.

  • For those with hypertension, manage high blood pressure through medication and lifestyle changes.

  • Quit smoking. This can have a negative impact on both oral and general health.

Medications can also affect your qualification for dental implants. Some medications, such as blood thinners, can increase the risk of bleeding during the invasive procedure. Inform your dentist of all medicines you take before dental implants.

Age Considerations

While age is not a limiting factor for dental implants, it’s essential to evaluate each patient’s situation to determine the most suitable course of treatment.

Age-related factors affecting eligibility for dental implants include:

  • Bone density
    Bone density can decrease with age, making it more challenging to support dental implants.

  • Overall health
    As we age, our overall health may decline, impacting the healing process and increasing the risk of complications.

  • Gum disease
    This is more prevalent in older adults and can weaken the bone that supports dental implants.

Dental implants are a viable option for older adults who meet the health requirements for dental implants. Dental implants can be a better option than removable dentures, which can become loose or slip over time. However, evaluating each patient’s unique situation is vital to determine if dental implants are indeed the most suitable treatment.

Smoking

Smoking can have a significant impact on dental implant candidacy. It can interfere with bone healing and increase the risk of implant failure. It’s essential to quit smoking before undergoing a dental implant procedure to meet the requirements for dental implants.

Here are some reasons why smoking can affect qualification for dental implants:

  • Smoking can impede blood flow to the gums and bone, interfering with healing.
  • Smoking increases the risk of gum disease, weakening the bone supporting the implant.
  • Smoking can increase the risk of infection, leading to implant failure.

Quitting smoking is crucial for successful dental implant treatment. Here are some tips to help quit smoking:

  • Set a quit date and be firm.
  • Identify triggers and develop strategies to overcome them.
  • Seek support from friends, family, or a healthcare provider.
  • Consider nicotine replacement therapy or other medications to help with withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment Planning

A thorough treatment plan can address issues found during the evaluation process and help provide successful dental implant treatment.

Here’s why a comprehensive treatment plan is crucial for determining candidacy for dental implants:

  • A treatment plan will evaluate each patient’s situation to determine if dental implants are a viable option.

  • A treatment plan will address oral health issues, such as gum disease or decay, that could impact the procedure’s success.

  • A treatment plan will consider factors such as age, bone density, and overall health to make certain that the patient is a candidate for dental implants.

The treatment plan for dental implants involves several steps. These may include:

  • A thorough dental exam, including X-rays and other imaging tests, to evaluate the jawbone’s condition and determine sufficient bone density to support dental implants

  • A review of the patient’s medical history to determine if any chronic illnesses or medications could impact the procedure’s success.

  • A discussion of the patient’s goals and expectations for dental implant treatment.

Implant Type

There are several types of dental implants, and the type of implant used will depend on the patient’s specific needs and the location of the missing tooth or teeth.

Here are the several types of dental implants:

  • Endosteal implants
    The most common dental implant placed directly into the jawbone. Endosteal implants are suitable for patients with sufficient bone density to support the implant.

  • Subperiosteal implants
    Positioned under the gum but above the jawbone. Subperiosteal implants suit patients with insufficient bone density to support endosteal implants.

  • Zygomatic implants
    These implants are anchored in the cheekbone instead of the jawbone, used in cases where traditional implants cannot be placed due to insufficient bone density in the upper jaw.

Cost Considerations

Cost is also an essential factor to consider when deciding whether to proceed with dental implant treatment. Dental implant costs can change based on several factors, including the type of implant used, the number of implants needed, and the clinic’s location.

Here are some factors to consider when it comes to the cost of dental implants:

  • The cost of the implant itself
  • The cost of any additional treatments, such as bone grafts or extractions
  • The cost of sedation (if applicable)
  • The cost of follow-up appointments and maintenance

A single dental implant in Australia can range from $4,000 to $6,000. This average cost includes the implant surgery, the implant itself, and the abutment and crown attached to the implant to create the final restoration.

Additional costs that may be incurred during the dental implant process include:

  • Diagnostic tests, such as X-rays and CT scans
  • Bone grafting procedures to build up the jawbone
  • Extraction of damaged teeth that need to be removed
  • Sedation during the surgery
  • Post-surgery follow-up appointments and maintenance

It’s essential to note that dental health funds may not cover the cost of dental implants. However, some private health insurance plans may cover a portion of the dental implant treatment cost, depending on the policy and coverage limits.

While dental implant treatment can be expensive, many financing options are available to help make it more affordable. Payment plans, health savings accounts, personal loans, and dental financing companies are all viable options to help spread out the cost of treatment.

Final Thoughts

Dental implants are a life-changing investment that can improve your smile’s appearance and function. However, determining the qualification for dental implants is not a one-size-fits-all process.

Factors such as oral health habits, healthy gums, bone density, chronic illnesses and medications, age, and overall health must be evaluated before dental implants.
Working with a board-certified, licensed dentist is crucial in developing a comprehensive treatment plan that considers all of these factors.

By taking the necessary steps to determine candidacy and finding suitable financing options, patients can achieve a revitalised smile and enjoy an improved quality of life.

Mary River Dental can help if you are considering dental implants, so don’t let missing teeth stop you from getting the smile you deserve. Book a consultation with us today!

Dr. Nick Peters

Author

Dr. Nick Peters

Dr. Nick Peters joined Mary River Dental in 2014 and held Medical Laboratory Science and Dental Surgery degrees from the University of Otago in New Zealand. Before joining the practice, he worked for three years at a private dental clinic in Invercargill. Dr. Peters moved to the Fraser Coast region of Australia after visiting Mary River Dental in 2014.

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