Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?
For patients missing one or more teeth, dental implants offer an opportunity to replace the entire structure of the tooth, from root to crown. However, while implants offer a range of advantages, they are not appropriate for every patient's needs.
At Gulf Coast Periodontics in Victoria, TX, we can examine your oral health and determine if you are a viable dental implant candidate. As a periodontist, Dr. Rick Heard can treat many of the conditions which limit candidacy for this procedure, such as gum disease and low bone density, to improve your chances of success.
Prerequisites for Implant Placement
In order to qualify for dental implants, you must have:
- Good overall health: Implant placement requires surgery, so viable candidates must be in good enough health to undergo the procedure and recover safely.
- Good periodontal health: When left unchecked, gum disease is a common cause of tooth loss and implant failure. We provide a variety of gum disease treatments at our office to lay the foundations for long-term success.
- Sufficient bone density: Dental implants rely on surrounding bone tissue for support. If you have lost tissue in your jawbone, you may need a bone grafting procedure to qualify for implants.
Besides good oral health, those interested in dental implant treatment should also be prepared to invest a good amount of time in the process. Fully restoring your smile can take anywhere from four months to a full year. Additional preliminary procedures can further extend this timeline. However, the final product is a healthy smile complete with a natural-looking and comfortable restoration.
The best way to find out if dental implants are right for you is to discuss the possibility with Dr. Heard in person.
When to Avoid Dental Implants
Certain health conditions can undermine your candidacy for dental implants. Some of these issues only require a temporary delay, while others may need a different tooth replacement option completely. For example, smoking can seriously hinder healing. However, if you are willing to give up smoking for the duration of recovery, you can still qualify for implants.
Other common examples include:
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- High-dose radiation treatment of the head or neck
- Heavy tobacco use
- Medications such as immunosuppressants
- Severe teeth clenching or grinding
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Connective tissue diseases
- Significant immune deficiencies
Be sure to disclose your full medical history to Dr. Heard during your initial consultation. He can assess whether a certain condition will affect the success of your implants.
At the Consultation
Before proceeding with dental implant treatment, Dr. Heard will perform an evaluation to determine if implants are right for you. A typical evaluation involves x-rays and three dimensional scans of your teeth and jaw using our cone beam CT scanner. Dr. Heard will also sit down with you to discuss your medical history and any questions or concerns you may have. Based on the results of this consultation, Dr. Heard can design a personalized treatment plan, which may include preliminary procedures to ensure a successful result.
Evaluate Your Candidacy
The best way to find out if dental implants are right for you is to discuss the possibility with Dr. Heard in person. Contact our office online or call (361) 573-1014 to schedule your consultation today.