Dental implants are arguably one of the best ways to replace lost teeth because they look and feel completely natural, and are durable and long-lasting to boot. That being said not everyone can replace their lost teeth with dental implants, and before you get too excited you should know the factors that determine whether or not they’re an option.
If you want to get dental implants, there are a few areas that need to be considered:
- Medical history and dental health
Getting implants is a surgical procedure, and as such your medical history is important. In particular your dentist will want to look into whether you’re a smoker, or have a preexisting condition that could affect your body’s ability to heal – such as diabetes.
Aside from that your overall dental health is important as well, and cavities, gum disease or other conditions could play a role.
- Height, width and quality of jawbone
To install a dental implant, a titanium post will need to be ‘screwed’ into your jawbone – which can be a problem in some cases. Often when teeth are missing the jawbone beneath them will gradually deteriorate and so they may not be able to house the post.
The good news is that in many cases if your jawbone can’t house the implant it is possible to graft material onto it so that it can. That being said the graft will have to heal and be inspected before the implant can be installed, which could take 3 to 6 months extra.
- Space between teeth
Although there is bound to be a space vacated by the missing tooth that you intend to replace – sometimes it may not be large enough. That is especially the case if the original tooth or the teeth surrounding it were out of alignment.
If there isn’t enough space for the implant, there is normally not much that can be done outside of extracting teeth to make space (which is rare).
While most of the factors that determine whether or not you can get implants will have to be assessed by a dentist – the one that you will have to think about for yourself is the cost. Make no mistake dental implants can be fairly expensive, and may not be fully covered by your dental insurance.
It is important that you are aware of how much your implants could cost, and decide whether or not they are a viable option based on your own finances.
Assuming you’re still interested in getting dental implants, the first step is to book an appointment with your dentist and let them evaluate the factors listed above. At the same time you can also enquire about the cost, and get an idea of how much you will end up having to pay. After that initial consultation you should have enough information to be able to decide whether or not to proceed any further, or whether you should look at a different option to replace your lost teeth.