Gum disease, tooth decay, and injury are all common causes of tooth loss, and millions of people in the U.S. are dealing with missing teeth. Now, more options are available than ever to replace these missing teeth, and dental implants are becoming increasingly popular. Find out if you are a good candidate for this restorative technique to get your smile back.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a type of replacement tooth root that provide a permanent foundation to correct tooth loss. The restorations consist of an implant screw that is surgically placed into the gums, an abutment, and a crown. The crown is designed to match the structure and appearance of your natural teeth, so once the implant has been put into place, it will look just like a real tooth. The implant is also designed to fuse to the bone of the jaw, and once this occurs, the restoration becomes permanent.
Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
Most people are candidates for dental implants. However, a good candidate will need to meet the following criteria:
- Commitment to taking care of the dental implant and surrounding teeth with daily brushing and flossing and regular dental visits.
- Strong and healthy gums that can support the implant.
- Enough bone within the jaw to help anchor the implant.
If you have suffered bone loss in your jaw, you are not automatically out of luck for getting a dental implant. In these situations, you may need to have your jaw bone rebuilt using a bone graft before you will be able to get a dental implant.
Who is Not a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
While dental implants can work for most people, others are simply not candidates, including pregnant women and young adults whose jawbones are still growing. Other people who are not good candidates include:
- Chronic smokers, as smoking can prevent the healing of your mouth after an implant surgery.
- Former cancer patients who have received radiation treatments to the neck and head.
- Drug and alcohol users who aren’t capable of properly caring for their teeth or following the instructions of their dentist.
- Patients who are taking drugs that will suppress the immune system.
- People with uncontrolled diabetes or other chronic diseases, including hemophilia and diseases of the connective tissue.
- Patients who severely clench or grind the teeth, as the added pressure to the implant could cause the device to fail.
Will My Dental Insurance Cover the Cost?
The cost of dental implants should also be considered when determining whether this treatment option is right for you. It is important to note that most dental insurance policies won’t cover the cost of a dental implant or bone graft. However, a portion of the procedure may be covered, and the actual crown should be paid for by the cost of dental insurance. In general, dental insurance doesn’t offer the greatest medical coverage, so you will need to prepare for other ways to pay for your treatment. Contact your dental office to see what type of payment plans and financing options are available to make the process as affordable as possible.