People have been performing dental implant surgery for a thousand years or more, and since the 1950s as we know it now. As a permanent solution to broken or missing teeth, it is little wonder that these types of procedures have been prevalent throughout recent history.
It is estimated that 3 million people just in the United States have had dental implant surgery, and the number keeps growing by 500,000 each year. When you look at these figures, it would stand to reason that dental implants are a reasonably safe and trusted medical process.
While that is certainly true, there is no surgical procedure that is 100% free from the possibility of complications. And although the technology associated with dental surgery has advanced greatly in recent decades, dental implants are not necessarily the best choice for all patients. Read on to discover whether they are a good fit for you.
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?
If you are missing one or more teeth, and dentures aren’t for you, you may be a candidate for dental implants. The other factors to take under consideration are your age and whether you are healthy and patient enough for the lengthy healing process.
Since dental implants are inserted into the jawbone, they are not suitable for patients who are still growing. There are other options available to children under the age of 18 as temporary measures until they reach adulthood.
To fit tightly, the implant needs to fuse with the jawbone as it heals in place. This can take several months until the bone has healed completely, so the patient needs to be able to commit to several follow-up appointments with the dentist to make sure everything is going well.
People who smoke tobacco are not a good fit for dental implants because of the damage that smoking causes to the jawbone, teeth, and gums. Smoking also makes it much more difficult for the implant site to heal correctly. Candidates for dental implants should have healthy teeth, bones, and oral tissues.
Benefits of Dental Implants
People who have received dental implants report several improvements to their quality of life. Below are some of the most common benefits of dental implants:
- Increased confidence that comes with a smile free from missing or broken teeth
- Restore the ability to chew and eat all kinds of food
- Improve speech by closing the gaps between your teeth
- Dental implants last for life
- Help stabilize and support the surrounding natural teeth.
- Eliminate the discomfort and slippage caused by dentures and bridgework
- Retain the natural shape of the face and jaw. When teeth are lost, the skin and cheek muscles around that area of the mouth can begin to sag, which can cause wrinkles and make a person look much older than they actually are.
Improvements in the technology and efficiency of dental implant surgery mean that affordable dental implants are more readily available to all budgets.
Dental implant surgery techniques have been around for a long time, but there is always the potential for issues with any medical procedure. Luckily, with dental implants, most of the possible problems are minor and easy to fix. These include:
- Difficulty in keeping the gums around the implant clean
- Natural teeth and gums can be damaged during the implant process
- Perforated sinus while implanting on the upper jaw
- Numbness can occur if nerves are damaged during the surgery
- There is a small possibility that the jawbone can be fractured by the impact of the drill if the bone is weak or brittle
It’s important to keep in mind that the odds of these risks happening are minimal. 90 to 95% of all dental implant surgery recipients experience no adverse effects at all.
To see if you are a candidate for a dental implant, schedule an appointment with Gina Maestri DDS Family Dentistry, for a consultation. We are committed to providing the highest quality dental care for all patients in the Acadiana area.