Dental implant technology has come quite a long way since George Washington’s wooden teeth (which were actually made of hippopotamus ivory and metal fasteners). These days, dental implants look indistinguishable from natural teeth and because they are anchored directly into the jawbone, they can last forever with the proper care. Dental implants are often a good choice for patients who have lost teeth, but only a dentist can tell you if you’re a good candidate. Schedule an appointment for a dental exam in Barrington to find out if they could be right for you. In the meantime, here are some general signs that you might be a good candidate for dental implants.
You Have One or More Unsalvageable Teeth
Many patients first consider getting dental implants after they’ve already lost one or more teeth. But actually, you can begin the treatment planning process with your dentist even before you lose a tooth. It’s standard practice for dentists to do everything possible to save a damaged or diseased tooth, but sometimes a tooth is simply not salvageable. If you’re anticipating a tooth extraction, talk to your dentist about your replacement options. Replacing a missing tooth sooner rather than later can help preserve your dental health.
You’re Having Trouble with Dentures
If you’re already missing natural teeth and you’ve replaced them with dentures, you might still consider getting dental implants. While dentures work well for many patients, others find them to be cumbersome and outdated. Because they’re removable, they aren’t a permanent solution like dental implants. Dentures can also cause some problems with speaking clearly and eating chewy or sticky foods.
You’re in Good Overall Health
Good candidates for dental implants are in reasonably good health. You could be a good candidate if you aren’t a smoker, do not have a chronic disease like hemophilia, and have not received radiation therapy to the head and neck areas. If you’re a pregnant woman or an adolescent, your dentist may ask that you wait before having dental implants. Additionally, you should have sufficient bone mass in the jaw to support your new implants and you should be committed to taking good care of them. You’ll need to brush at least twice daily, floss at least once daily, and see your dentist every six months to maintain your dental health.