Dental implants have emerged as an attractive treatment option for replacing missing teeth. If you are suffering from missing or debilitated, broken down teeth, then dental implants may offer an ideal and permanent solution to your problems.
Typically made of titanium, dental implants are mini posts placed into the bone that serve as strong support for fixed replacement teeth. Of course, as with any dental procedure, implant treatment may not be suitable for everyone.
The ideal dental implant candidate
To be considered an ideal candidate for the surgical procedure, the patient should have good overall health and be a non-smoker. This is not to say that smokers or medically compromised patients cannot have treatment - but this may carry increased risks.
The treatment usually begins with an initial consultation, during which the dentist would review your medical history and discuss any medications that you may be currently taking. This would be followed by a comprehensive oral exam to ascertain whether you have any underlying dental conditions that may hinder the implant procedure or cause complications.
What happens in a consultation appointment?
At the consultation stage, the dentist should take three-dimensional x-rays such as a Cone Beam Scan or CT scan of your jaw. The diagnostic images provide critical information on your supporting teeth structure – such as bone density, mass, and depth – as they will need to be of an adequate dimension to accommodate the implants. Based on your individual situation, the dentist would be able to determine the most suitable type of implant treatment for your bone structure.
Since the quality of your jawbone is of paramount importance to the success of implant placement, conditions such as gum disease must be addressed prior to the implant procedures. Gum disease is caused by bacterial infection. Left untreated, it can progress to serious periodontal diseases, bone destruction and tooth loss. It is, in fact, the major cause of tooth loss for patients over the age of 35.
A suitable dental implant candidate must have healthy gum tissues and underlying bone in the mouth. That is why your implant dentist will check for any signs of the inflammatory disease before recommending you implants as a treatment option.
If a mild gum problem has been detected, the dentist would first treat the disease. Once you have demonstrated the ability to maintain efficient plaque control to halt the progression of the disease, you would then be ready for implant placement. If the dentist finds that you have inadequate or insufficient bone mass – it could be due to gum disease or other factors such as trauma – a bone grafting procedure may be necessary.
What about after implant treatment?
Another critical factor for the success of implants lies in the practising of good oral hygiene. The success of implants does not end with the surgical procedures but involves conscientious lifestyle choices, including maintaining proper oral care routines as well as regular visits to the dentist. With proper at-home and professional dental care, your implant-supported teeth may even last a lifetime. Your dentist may also recommend the use of special hygiene aids that are designed to keep your implant clean and plaque-free.
Proper brushing and flossing, as well as regular visits to the dentist, are vital to achieving a good level of oral health compatible with implant success and will go a long way toward increasing the longevity of your implants. In fact, your implants may last a lifetime with proper care.
Does my age matter?
Advanced age is not a factor in implant success. That said, age is still a determinant, albeit on the other side of the spectrum. Dental implants are not recommended for children simply because the jawbone growth and development of young patients is not yet complete.
For more information on dental implant treatments and solutions and how they can restore function, health and beauty to your smile, contact Macquarie Street Centre today – simply call our friendly Sydney CBD Clinic at 02 9247 1394.