By: Dr. Lahiru Chandraweera

May 05, 2023

Who Can Get Dental Implants? A Comprehensive Guide for Candidates

Have you lost one or more teeth and are considering dental implants to replace them? Dental implants are a great way for people who want to restore their smile and improve their oral health. However, not everyone is a suitable candidate for this procedure. Dental implant candidacy depends on age, overall health, and the jawbone’s condition.

In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to know about dental implant eligibility and suitability. We’ll cover everything from the benefits of dental implants to the factors that can affect your candidacy. We’ll also discuss the different types of dental implants available, so you can decide which one is right for you.

Whether you have lost one tooth or several, dental implants can help you regain confidence and improve your quality of life. Please keep reading to learn more about who can get dental implants and whether they are the right solution for you.

Hills Family Dental Centre

Summary of the Content

  • Dental implants are effective for replacing missing teeth, but not everyone qualifies.

  • Factors such as overall health, lifestyle habits, bone density, and gum health are considered when determining who can get dental implants.

  • Medical conditions, smoking, and young age can affect eligibility for dental implants.

  • Alternatives to dental implants include dentures, bridges, and tooth extraction.

  • Dentures are custom-made false teeth that can provide natural-looking teeth.

  • Bridges use adjacent natural teeth to anchor an artificial tooth in place of a missing tooth.

  • Dental implant placement is an invasive surgical procedure that requires proper care to ensure success and avoid complications.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are among the most sought-after dental procedures for replacing missing or damaged teeth. These titanium implants are artificial teeth that are surgically implanted into the jawbone to provide a long-lasting replacement for a lost tooth. Unlike other tooth replacement options, dental implants offer several advantages, including durability and a more natural appearance.

Dental implants have three main parts: the implant post, abutment, and crown:

  1. Implant post – is made of titanium and is surgically placed into the jawbone. This serves as the root of the artificial tooth.

  2. Abutment – placed on top of the implant post, which connects the implant to the crown.

  3. Crown – the visible part of the artificial tooth, custom-made to match your natural teeth’ shape, size, and colour.

Dental implants work by fusing with the jawbone, which provides a stable base for the replacement tooth. This process is known as osseointegration. This allows the implant to work like a natural tooth. It also helps prevent bone loss, a common problem for people who have lost a tooth.

Dental implants offer several advantages over tooth replacement options like dentures. They are more comfortable, more durable, and have a more natural appearance. Unlike dentures, which can slip or shift, dental implants are securely anchored to the jawbone, allowing you to eat and speak confidently.

Who Can Get Dental Implants?

Dental implant suitability depends on various factors that dentists consider to determine whether the patient is eligible for this treatment.

Here are some of the factors that are taken into consideration when determining whether someone is a good candidate for dental implants:

  • Healthy Teeth and Gums:
    Candidates should have good oral health, with no signs of decay or gum disease that could lead to infection. Any existing dental issues must be addressed before implant placement.

  • Healthy Bones:
    Sufficient bone mass in the jaw is necessary to support the implant. People with a strong bone structure, especially in the jawbone, are considered good candidates for dental implants. However, natural bone deficiency can be addressed through bone grafts.

  • Age:
    Dental implants are suitable for most adults, but the patient’s jaw must be fully developed, usually at least 18 years old. There is no upper age limit for dental implant placement. Patients in their 80s and 90s can benefit from this treatment.

  • Habits and Medical Conditions:
    Certain habits, such as smoking, can increase the risk of implant failure and may make a patient ineligible. Medical conditions such as diabetes and autoimmune disorders can also complicate the healing process, and implant placement may be delayed until the condition is under control.

  • Commitment to Proper Care:
    Candidates must maintain proper oral hygiene and visit their dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. The patient must also be willing to follow the post-operative care instructions to ensure the longevity of the implant.

It is important to note that dental implant suitability is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and a comprehensive evaluation of each patient’s dental health is necessary before determining candidacy.
A qualified dentist can thoroughly evaluate and determine whether a patient is a good candidate for dental implants.

Factors to Consider when Determining Candidacy for Dental Implants

Dental implant eligibility depends on a patient’s overall health, lifestyle, and bone density.

Overall Health

A patient’s overall health is essential in determining candidacy for dental implants. Patients with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or autoimmune disorders may experience complications during the implant placement.

Also, patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy may not be eligible for dental implants. A qualified dentist will evaluate a patient’s overall health to determine candidacy for implant placement.

Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle factors like smoking and alcohol consumption can significantly impact dental implant eligibility. Smoking can affect the healing process and increase the risk of implant failure.

Similarly, excessive alcohol consumption can slow down healing, negatively affecting dental implant candidacy. Patients who smoke or consume alcohol should discuss their habits with their dentist to determine if dental implants suit them.

Bone Density

Adequate bone density in the jaw is essential to support dental implants, and patients with low bone density may not be eligible for this treatment.
The jaw bone must be strong enough to support the implant, as dental implants are designed to function like natural tooth roots. In some cases, bone grafting may be necessary to increase bone density before implant placement.

Gum Health

Gum health is another essential factor in determining dental implant suitability. Gum disease can cause inflammation and damage the gums and jaw bone, negatively impacting implant placement. A patient’s gums must be healthy and free of any signs of periodontal disease before implant placement.

Medical Conditions and Dental Implants

Patients with certain medical conditions may have difficulty with the implant placement process, which can affect their candidacy.

  • Diabetes:
    Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can cause complications during implant placement, such as delayed healing, infection, and implant failure. Patients with diabetes should work with their dentist and primary care physician to manage their condition before undergoing a dental implant procedure.

  • Heart Disease:
    Patients with heart disease may need blood thinners or other medications that can affect the implant placement. In some cases, patients with heart conditions may require pre-treatment with antibiotics before undergoing a dental procedure, including implant placement.

  • Autoimmune Diseases:
    Patients with autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, may experience complications during the implant placement due to the body’s immune response. These patients may require specialised care to ensure the implant placement is successful.

  • Medications:
    Some medications, such as bisphosphonates, can affect bone tissue and increase the risk of implant failure. Patients taking these medications should discuss their options with their dentist to determine if dental implants are a suitable dental procedure for them.

Medical conditions can significantly affect dental implant candidacy, and patients should discuss their medical history with their dentist to determine if dental implants are a suitable option for them. Dental implant procedures are invasive, and patients must be ideal candidates to ensure successful implant placement.

If you have a medical condition that may affect your eligibility for dental implants, discuss your options with your dentist and primary care physician to determine the best treatment for your tooth health.

Dental Implants for Specific Needs

Dental implants can be customised to meet specific patient needs. Dental professionals can tailor a treatment plan to fit your needs, whether you are missing one or several teeth or have gum disease.

  • Missing Teeth:
    Dental implants are ideal for patients with missing teeth. They can replace single or multiple teeth, eliminating the need for partial or removable dentures. Implant crowns can be custom-made to match the surrounding natural teeth, providing a seamless and natural-looking smile. Dental implants are a more comfortable and long-lasting solution for tooth loss than traditional dentures.

  • Gum Disease:
    Patients with gum disease may experience tooth loss or jaw bone deterioration, making dental implant placement more challenging. However, dental professionals can develop a treatment plan that includes the treatment of gum disease before the placement of implants. This ensures the jaw bone is healthy and strong enough to support the implants.

  • Elderly Patients:
    Dental implants are suitable for elderly patients who have lost teeth due to aging or other factors. However, some elderly patients may have a higher risk of complications during implant placement. Dental professionals may adjust the treatment plan and take extra precautions to ensure the procedure is safe and comfortable for elderly patients.

  • Heavy smokers:
    Smoking can increase the risk of implant failure due to delayed healing and infection. However, smokers can still be eligible for dental implants if they quit smoking or work with their dentist to manage their habits. Dental professionals can provide smokers with specialised care to ensure successful implant placement.

  • Bone Loss:
    Patients with bone loss may not have enough bone density to support implants. However, dental professionals can perform bone grafts or use specialised techniques to make dental implants possible. These complex procedures can help provide patients with long-lasting dental implants despite their bone loss.

Dental implant placement is an invasive procedure, and working with experienced dental professionals is crucial to ensure successful placement and abutment placement. With proper care, dental implants can provide patients with replacement teeth that look and feel natural for many years.

Who May Not Be a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

Certain conditions or situations can make a person ineligible for dental implant placement.

  1. Lack of Adequate Bone Mass:
    Dental implants require a certain amount of healthy jaw bone to support the artificial tooth root. If a patient has experienced significant bone loss, they may have insufficient bone mass to support dental implants. In these cases, bone grafts may be necessary before implant placement, or alternative tooth replacement options such as dentures or bridges may be recommended.

  2. Medical Conditions:
    Certain medical conditions, such as heart disease, autoimmune disorders, or uncontrolled diabetes, can affect who can get dental implants. These conditions may affect the healing process and increase the risk of implant failure. Patients with these medical conditions may need treatment before implant placement, or alternative tooth replacement options may be recommended.

  3. Smoking:
    Smoking can affect healing and increase the risk of implant failure. Smoking patients may not be good candidates for dental implants unless they quit smoking or manage their habit with their dentist’s guidance. Smoking cessation is essential for patients who want to have dental implants.

  4. Young Age:
    Young patients whose jawbones have not yet fully developed may not be good candidates for dental implants. Implant placement can affect the growth and development of the jawbone, and alternative tooth replacement options may be recommended for these patients.

Patients not good candidates for dental implants can still receive tooth replacements such as dentures or bridges. Working with a dentist with experience in cosmetic dentistry procedures is essential to determine the tooth replacement option suited for your unique situation.

Alternatives to Dental Implants

Alternative options are available for patients who are not good candidates for dental implants.

Dentures

Dentures are removable false teeth custom-made to fit over the patient’s gums. They are a common tooth replacement option for patients who cannot receive dental implants due to jaw bone loss or other medical conditions.

Dentures can be either full or partial and can be made of various materials, such as acrylic resin, porcelain, metal, or a combination of materials. While dentures may not be as stable as tooth implants, they can provide patients with natural-looking teeth that are relatively affordable.

Bridges

Dental bridges are another alternative to dental implants. Bridges use adjacent natural teeth to anchor an artificial tooth, called a pontic, in place of the missing tooth.

Bridges are a popular option for patients who only have one or two missing teeth and have healthy adjacent teeth to support the bridge. Like dentures, bridges are custom-made to fit over the patient’s gums, providing natural-looking replacement teeth.

Final Thoughts

Dental implants can be an effective tooth replacement option for many patients. It is important to work with a skilled dentist to assess eligibility and receive adequate care before and after the procedure. Factors such as overall health, lifestyle habits, and bone density should be considered when choosing a tooth replacement option.

Patients not eligible for dental implant treatment can still consider alternative treatment options such as dentures or bridges. Patients can find the tooth replacement option that will meet their needs and restore their smile by consulting a dental professional.

If you’re considering dental implants as a tooth replacement option, Hills Family Dental Centre is here to help. Our experienced team of dental professionals can help determine your candidacy and provide personalised care during and after the procedure. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation and take the first step towards restoring your smile with dental implants.