Dental Guides

5 Important Questions to Ask Your Dentist about Dental Implants

Dental implants are the preferred tooth replacement method for most patients because they not only look good, but also attach to and stimulate the jawbone, which helps keep the bone from deteriorating. If you are missing any teeth, dental implants are usually a better option than bridges or dentures. Here are some questions to ask about dental implants next time you visit your dentist.

Am I a good candidate for dental implants? Not everyone should get implants. If your immune system is compromised in any way, you may not be a good candidate for dental implants. Artificial substances in your body can become a target for cancerous cells, so if you have cancer, have had cancer, or have a lot of cancer in your family, you may want to consider an alternative to dental implants. Patients with uncontrolled type II diabetes should not get implants due to possible complications related to high blood sugar. Also, if you grind your teeth, your implants are more likely to fail because of extra pressure exerted on them. Other contraindications for dental implants include heart attack, stroke, heart valve surgery, drug abuse, and mental illness.

Will I need a bone graft? While bone loss is not a contraindication, it is a condition that often needs to be remedied before a patient can undergo dental implant surgery. After you lose a tooth, the bone on which the tooth was anchored starts to shrink away. The longer it has been since you lost the tooth, the more likely it is that you will need a bone graft to restore the lost bone. In most cases, you will have to wait a few months for the bone graft to heal before getting your implants.

What type of anesthesia do you use? According to Dr. Ramsey Amin, patients who are sedated often heal faster and have less pain following the procedure. This is because the doctor is able to give anti-inflammatory medication through the IV, which helps speed up the healing process.

How old is the titanium implant? A study published in the October 2012 issue of Implant Dentistry found that the age of the titanium implant affects how well the implant osseointegrates with the bone. In fact, the researchers found a significant reduction in bone-implant contact when using implants that were just four weeks old. For best results, titanium dental implants should be implanted as quickly as possible after manufacture.

How much experience do you have and what is your success rate? As with any type of surgery, you want a doctor who knows what he or she is doing and is good at it. Don't be afraid to ask about the doctor's training, experience, and success rate.

About the author: Natalie Lovekin works closely with, experts in dental implants and other methods of restorative dentistry, such as tooth-colored restorations and whitening.

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