When natural teeth are missing from the mouth, artificial substitutes to replace the root portion of teeth are put into the bone and gums of the mouth. Replacement teeth are then fixed onto these new roots. Dental implants allow people who are missing teeth to be able to smile, speak, and chew well and comfortable.
Successful implant treatment has dramatically improved the quality of life for many people. With proper planning and care, implants can be an excellent answer to the problems associated with missing natural teeth.
What Mouth Conditions Might Require A Dental Implant?
In you are missing a tooth or teeth, or even parts of your jaw, these could be replaced with dental implants. First, there are a few very important factors that must be considered.
Experiments and practical experience have shown that implants work best when there is enough dense, healthy jawbone in a mouth that will support an implant.
Healthy, disease-free gum tissues are also necessary. The long-term success of a dental implant depends upon keeping the gums and bone around the implant healthy. People who have implants must keep them clean and should return regularly to their dentist for checkups, because any problems that might threaten the health of the implant must be corrected.Who Should Not Have Dental Implants?
If you have any of the following conditions, dental implant therapy may not be for you.
Crippling or uncontrolled disease.
Conditions that affect the body's ability to heal and repair itself may have a negative effect on the placement and health of an implant. Persons with diseases (such as diabetes) that are not under control are not good candidates for dental implants because the uncontrolled disease keeps the body from healing itself normally. However, a diabetic person under proper control by a doctor could be treated successfully with implants.
Other diseases such as leukemia or hyperparathyroidism (abnormal activity of the parathyroid glands) also may affect the outcome of implant treatment. Persons who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer should not have treatment procedures that are advantageous but not urgent (such as dental implants) until cancer treatment is completed and the doctor says it is safe to proceed. If you have any questions about how your general health might affect dental implants in your mouth, you and your dentist should discuss this with your doctor.
Women who are pregnant should not undergo any treatment such as dental implants until after the first three months of their pregnancy. It is best to wait until after delivery to start dental implant treatment.
Psychiatric or emotional treatment
People with psychiatric disorders such as chronic depression or personality changes requiring treatment, or people undergoing severe emotional stress, should avoid situations that may complicate or disturb their lives. Dental implant therapy may place additional stress on persons who are unable to tolerate it. As with other diseases, open discussion of the problem should involve the patients, dentist, and doctor before implant treatment is considered.
Poor motivation to accept and follow needed treatment
For dental implants to be successful, you must be committed to following all the necessary steps before, during, and long after treatment. People who are not able or not willing to undergo the necessary treatment, or to take care of their new teeth on a regular basis, should not consider implant therapy.
Lack of muscular coordination to manage oral hygiene procedures
To keep the bone and gums around dental implants healthy, you must carefully clean the implants. This means that you must be able to handle a tooth brush, dental floss, or other cleaning tools to remove food and plaque. Persons with severe arthritis or other handicaps that affect the hands and arms may not be good candidates for implant treatment.
Are you missing all natural teeth in one or both jaws?
Are you missing one or more teeth in a jaw?
Are you having difficulty wearing a regular removable denture because
you gag, find the denture is too bulky, feel pain, or generally dislike
something movable in the mouth?
Do you have an oral defect or missing mouth part because of an injury,
surgery to treat disease, or birth defect?
If you answered yes to any of the above conditions or preferences, you may be a candidate for dental implants.
Your age generally will not prevent the placement or use of dental implants. However, pre-adolescent or very elderly person may not be good candidates for treatment.
Are There Any Risks To My Health With Implant Treatment?
Some health factors are important when considering dental implants:
Surgery or anesthetic
Usual precautions associated with a local or general anesthetic must be taken. Sometimes an opening into the sinus cavity above the upper teeth or a nerve injury can occur. These incidents seldom result in permanent damage.
People who experience abnormal psychologic stresses or are not motivated may have problems with surgery and may not be able or willing to follow oral hygiene instructions. However, persons who avoid contact with other people because they are concerned about their missing or unattractive teeth may be helped.
There are some temporary conditions that can result from implant placement: pain and swelling of gums, lip, tongue; speech problems; and inflammation (heat, redness, swelling, and pain) of the gums. Possible long-term difficulties may include nerve injury, bone loss if the implants fail, overgrowth of gums, and mouth or general bacterial infection. For those people who have other body part replacements or heart valve problems, endocarditis (inflammation of the inside lining of the heart) or infection may be a risk.
When dental implants that have been placed in your jawbone are successful, Osseointegration occurs. This term means bone connection. The metal or ceramic part of the implant is placed into your jawbone, then the bone actually attaches itself directly to the implant, growing all around it and supporting it firmly.
Some implant systems encourage a soft tissue scar layer between the implant and bone; it is suggested that this scar tissue serves like a ligament in connection a natural tooth root to its bony socket. However, this theory has not been scientifically proven. In addition, a scar layer contributes to implant movement, permitting undesirable communication between bone and the mouth, and does not react well to biting forces.
Scientific data do tell us that implant systems based on osseointegration are predictable and highly successful.How Long Will Dental Implants Last?
With advances in the science of implant dentistry, you can now expect that most implants will function indefinitely. However, like any dental restoration, the teeth may wear or break and need to be repaired or replaced. After you have been examined by your dentist and before you make any decision on implant treatment, you must consider cost. Just like any complicated and time-consuming medical or dental procedure, implant treatment is moderately expensive. You should be aware of all the costs involved. If you will be treated by a team of dentist, make sure that you receive cost estimates from each one involved. For example, if an oral surgeon will be placing the implants into your jaw and a prosthodontist or your personal dentist is going to make the restoration prosthesis to replace the teeth, you should get cost estimates from both.
If you have dental insurance, you or your dentist should contact the
insurance company before you start treatment to find out whether or
how much of the treatment might be covered. Insurance policies vary
in their coverage of elective procedures such as implants. It is important
that, before you agree to proceed, you fully understand how much your
insurance company will pay and how much you yourself will have to pay.