Am I a Candidate for Implants?
Dental implants are a popular restorative technique in dentistry, but they are not a viable option for each patient. Before you can be approved for dental implant surgery, we need to ensure that you meet specific criteria. Age is not a huge factor in this decision, though we generally prefer to wait until patients are older (over 18) so we know all of the bone structure has developed fully. Your jaw must be developed and strong enough to hold the implants. Oral & Facial Surgery details the qualifications for dental implants surgery.
Dental Health Condition
The first step is ensuring that you have good dental health. This includes both the jaw and the gums, as they are both essential in supporting dental implants. There cannot be a presence of infection, and this would need to be cleared before surgery. For instance, many people need tooth extraction due to gum disease. This would need to be under control before you can get dental implants. Injuries would also need to be healed before surgery can take place so that we do not cause too much trauma to the area.
In addition to good dental health, you will also need to have good overall health. Any surgical procedure carries a risk of infection. We would need to ensure that this surgery is not going to put your health at risk due to a weakened immune system. If infection would occur, it could spread through your bloodstream to other regions of your body, making you very sick. Your immune system must be able to fight the bacteria. There are chronic health conditions that may disqualify you, but you should also be free of minor health issues as well.
You can have good dental and overall health, but still not have a healthy enough jaw to support dental implant placement. To check for this, we perform a routine visual exam and collect dental x-rays to check the condition of the jawbone. Endosteal implants are placed in the jaw, so we need to know that it is strong and that there is enough of it.
We can also prepare the jaw for surgery through either sinus augmentation or ridge modification. These both strengthen the jaw and increase its mass. Sinus augmentation increases bone tissue mass in the upper jaw. Ridge modification increases mass using a bone graft. Bone grafts can also be placed in the lower jaw.
Alternatives to Dental Implants
As dental implants are not available for every patient, there are many other restorative procedures you can have. For instance, larger tooth gaps for when you have multiple missing teeth can be filled using a partial denture, also called a bridge. For single teeth, the crown can simply be cemented to the teeth beside it rather than an implant. These restorations can be attached to dental implants as well, but they do not have to be. We work closely with your dentist to ensure that together, we offer the best solution for your needs.
Call Oral & Facial Surgery at Oral & Facial Surgery in the Lewiston/Clarkston region at 208-743-1640 or in the Moscow/Pullman region at 509-330-5020 to learn more about how to qualify for dental implant surgery.