Conditions That May Temporarily Disqualify You As A Dental Implant Candidate

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Dentists often prescribe dental implants for people with missing teeth. Even though the devices offer multiple oral health benefits and have a low rate of failure, some people are poor candidates for implants, at least initially.

Here are a few conditions that may temporarily disqualify you as a dental implant candidate.

Jawbone Atrophy

The bone of the jaw starts to shrink as soon as a tooth is lost. The area along the bone where the tooth once was no longer receives the stimulation needed to maintain its thickness. Thus, if multiple teeth are lost from the same palate, the patient may suffer significant jawbone atrophy.

The shrunken jawbone may not offer enough support for the placement of a standard dental implant. As a result, the dentist may suggest a bone graft to increase the girth of the jawbone before the implant can be placed. The graft includes the addition of bone material that is either harvested from another site on the patient's body, taken from a cadaver, harvested from an animal, or synthetically produced.

Periodontal Disease

If a patient has an active case of gum disease, the condition should be treated before the placement of an implant. Gingivitis, a mild form of periodontal disease, can progress to periodontitis over time.  

Periodontitis causes the development of pockets or spaces between the teeth and the gingival tissues. These pockets allow the accumulation of bacteria. Additionally, as the pockets deepen, they grant the microbes access to the jawbone. As a result, people with gum disease have an increased risk of implant failure.

To treat periodontitis, the dentist may perform root scaling and planning procedures. Additionally, they are likely to prescribe at-home care, such as the use of an antimicrobial mouth rinse.

Smoking or Chewing Tobacco

Some people are addicted to nicotine and may regularly smoke or chew tobacco products. Nevertheless, tobacco use is associated with a higher incidence of failed implants.

Compounds in chewing tobacco irritate the sensitive gum tissues. Additionally, smoking lowers the oxygen levels of the tissues and impairs the body's ability to heal. As a result, a smoker's dental implants may not integrate properly with the bone tissue of the jaw.

If you smoke or chew tobacco, the dentist will likely suggest that you quit weeks or even months before receiving dental implant surgery.

If you are interested in learning more about dental implants, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.