Dental implants are made of a titanium post that is placed in the jawbone and includes a crown (the tooth) that is placed on top. Unlike bridges, implants do not need to be anchored to surrounding teeth nor do they become loose like a denture. Implants are an excellent option for patients who have missing teeth.
You are a good candidate for a dental implant if you:
- Have healthy gums
- Have sufficient bone in your jaw to keep the implant placed properly
- Practice daily dental care including brushing, flossing, and rinsing
- Are able to visit the dentist at least once a year for a professional cleaning
You may not be a good candidate if you:
- Are pregnant
- Are young enough that your jaw is still growing
- Smoke often, which hurts the body’s ability to heal well and quickly
- Struggle with alcohol or substance abuse. Those who practice such behaviors may not be prepared to properly care for their teeth in order to ensure the long-term success of their dental implant.
- Have been given an exceptionally high dose of radiation on the neck or head areas
- Have a chronic disease or systemic issue like uncontrolled diabetes, connective tissue diseases, hemophilia, a significant immune deficiency, or similar problems.
- Are on steroids or drugs that inhibit the immune system’s ability to work well
- Have a clenching or teeth grinding habit
How to care for your dental implant
If you are the right candidate for a dental implant and go through with the procedure, it is important to know what proper implant care involves. First, practice proper and thorough oral hygiene every day and plan regular professional cleanings. Next, try to avoid chewing on hard foods like ice and hard candy, as they can crack the crown. Finally, if you haven’t yet, quit smoking. Smoking will weaken the structure of your mouth, particularly the area around your implant.