Are Dental Implants the Answer?
Modern dental implants have been around for just over 40 years. Within the last 20 years, dental implant technology has advanced, due mostly to the introduction of innovative imaging and planning tools and biocompatible materials such as medical-grade titanium. People who have had missing teeth replaced with dental implants enjoy the unparalleled stability and security they offer. Unfortunately, not every patient in need of a tooth replacement solution makes a good candidate for dental implants. Your Atlanta prosthodontist, Dr. David Zelby, would like to discuss some reasons why patients do not qualify for dental implants and talk about the most popular implant alternative.
Why Dental Implants Might Not Work for You
Dr. Zelby strongly believes that before approving any patient for dental implant placement, a dentist must consider several factors:
- What is the patient’s general medical condition? In order to qualify for dental implant placement, you need to be in good overall health. Smoking, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease increase the risk of dental implant failure, so patients dealing with these issues generally do not receive approval for implants.
- Does the patient have outstanding oral health problems? If your dentist finds tooth decay, gum disease, broken teeth, or any other oral health issues, he will want to address those problems first. To ensure the best results, the oral environment needs to be in the best health possible.
- Is the patient committed to caring for dental implants? Caring for your implants does not require special care beyond regular brushing, flossing, and preventive visits to the dentist. However, if you cannot commit to a consistent at-home care routine, dental implants may not be the answer for you.
- Does the patient have healthy jaw bone tissue? Since dental implants are surgically inserted into the jaw, you must have adequate bone density that can support implants. Your dentist will determine this using digital x-rays and 3D imaging. In some cases, a bone tissue graft procedure can help strengthen a patient’s jaw enough to support implants.
Bridgework: A Time Tested Solution for Missing Teeth
For the most part, when people inquire about dental implant placement, they only need to replace a single missing tooth. If a pre-existing condition prevents you from qualifying for dental implants, a dental bridge offers a great alternative for restoring the look and function of your smile. Dental bridges are anchored between natural-looking crowns placed on the teeth neighboring the missing one. Atlanta dental prosthetic expert, Dr. David Zelby, says that dental bridges generally last for 5-15 years and will help you avoid TMJ disorders, tooth decay, gum disease, and other problems by maintaining proper spacing along the dental arch. Bridges also look entirely natural and will help boost your confidence and quality of life after living with adult tooth loss.