Dental implants are a popular treatment to replace single or multiple teeth. They are suitable for anyone who is missing one or more teeth due to an injury, gum disease, or other reasons. However, there are certain criteria you must meet to be eligible for dental implants.

Read on to learn more about this treatment and who can get dental implants.

Dentalcare of Forrestfield

Dental implants or teeth implants are small posts made of screw-like titanium posts placed into the jawbone to act as an artificial tooth root through minor surgery. These metal posts provide a secure and strong foundation for a replacement tooth, which could be a dental crown, bridge, or denture. The entire treatment process takes several months to complete, usually 5 to 8 months or more, depending on the complexity of your case. This includes your implant placement, healing time, and dental visits.

This surgical procedure is considered restorative and aesthetic because they restore function and improve the appearance of your smile. They also prevent bone loss in the jaw, unlike other treatment options, such as a bridge or denture. While they are generally a safe and effective treatment, there are certain factors you and your dentist will need to consider before getting the treatment.

Your dentist or oral surgeon will assess your oral health during an implant consultation to determine if you are eligible for dental implants.

Who Needs Dental Implants?

The following are the circumstances that indicate who can get dental implants:

  • People who are missing one or more teeth
    If you suffer tooth loss due to injury, gum disease, or other reasons, you could get dental implants to replace your missing tooth or teeth. While you can opt for other more affordable options like removable dentures, mouth implants are more durable and longer-lasting.

  • People with severely damaged teeth
    You can opt for this treatment if you have a severely decayed or damaged tooth that cannot be restored with more traditional treatments like fillings or root canal therapy. Your dentist will use implants to replace your newly-extracted teeth. You must note that you still need healthy gums and adequate jawbone to support the implant.

  • People looking for a longer-lasting and secure way to replace their missing teeth
    Unlike conventional dentures, which are removable, dental implants last for many years. The posts will be attached directly to your jawbone and feel natural when you talk, bite, or chew food.

Can Patients of All Ages Get Dental Implants?

Not all ages are eligible for dental implants. While there is no set age to get dental implants, as every individual develops differently, patients aged 18 with fully developed and healthy gums may be considered for dental implants. However, sometimes, even at 18, there are still patients whose jawbone is not fully developed yet. On the other hand, some female patients may be considered for dental implants as early as 16 because they tend to have fully developed jaws earlier than male patients.

Similarly, there’s no maximum age limit for getting dental implants. However, if you are over 60, your dentist may recommend more tests to check your overall health as well as the condition of your jawbone before performing the procedure.

For example, a study with subjects 65 years old and over and 80 years old and over found that the first age group has similar early implant losses (EIL) to those 35 to 55 years old. On the other hand, the second age group has a slightly higher tendency to EAL. So, you might want to consult your dentist first for additional tests if you belong to this age group.

Who Are Good Candidates for Dental Implants?

The following are qualifications that should be met by those who can get dental implants:

  • Enough and healthy jawbone
    Your jawbone must be strong enough to support the implant posts. If it isn’t, your dentist may recommend a bone grafting procedure to get implants.

  • Healthy gums
    You must have healthy gums free from any signs of gum disease. Otherwise, this needs to be treated before getting dental implants.

  • No active medical conditions that can affect healing
    To ensure successful healing after the treatment, you should not have any medical condition that can cause problems during recovery, such as uncontrolled diabetes or a serious illness.

  • Good oral hygiene habits
    You must be committed to practising good oral hygiene habits. This can reduce the risk of future complications with dental implants and improve their longevity.

Who Is Contraindicated from Having Dental Implants?

While there are good candidates for dental implants, there are also those who are contraindicated for this treatment. These are the following:

  • People with cognitive decline
    Those with dementia or Alzheimer’s are not suitable candidates for this procedure as they may forget to properly care for and clean their implants.

  • Those who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy
    The drugs and treatments used can affect the healing process of dental implants, making them prone to infection or failure.

  • People with uncontrolled diabetes
    As mentioned, diabetes can impair healing and increase the risk of infections, increasing your chances of implant failure.

  • Heavy smokers
    Tobacco products can increase the risk of dental implant failure because they can impair the healing process.

What Happens if Patients Who Are Not Eligible for Dental Implants Receive Treatment?

For those who are not good candidates for dental treatment and proceed with it anyway, there is a high possibility that the implants can fail, or their bodies may reject them. For instance, if you don’t have enough bone mass, the implants may not integrate properly and can cause severe discomfort or even fall out.

Also, if your overall health is poor, your body may reject the dental implants or can’t heal properly. As such, before getting this treatment, consult your dentist first and see that you meet all requirements for dental implant placement.

How Can I Improve My Eligibility for Dental Implants?

Patients can increase their chances of being good candidates for dental implants in several ways. These include:

  • Bone graft surgery for those with insufficient jaw bone
    Also known as bone augmentation, this procedure involves adding bone material to your jaw bone to create a strong and healthy foundation for the implants. This is done for patients who want a dental implant but don’t have sufficient bone mass to support implants.

  • Professional cleaning of teeth
    Aside from practising good oral health care at home, such as brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, you must maintain regular dental check-ups and cleanings to keep your gums healthy and free from infection.

  • Dental filling
    if you have tooth decay
    If you have tooth decay, it’s better to address it first, as this can increase your chances of successful implant placement.

  • Gum disease treatment
    If you have gum or periodontal disease, it’s vital to manage and control it first, as this can affect the success of your dental implant surgery. Your dentist may require frequent dental cleanings and strict oral hygiene for mild to moderate cases. They may also ask you to avoid certain habits, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, or chewing tobacco. Afterwards, they will examine you again to determine if the gum disease has been controlled.

    For advanced cases, bone or gum grafting may be necessary before implant placement. Gum grafting involves taking a small tissue sample from your palate and grafting it into the gums to promote healthier gum tissue.

  • Sinus lift
    Also called sinus augmentation, this is a procedure to increase the volume of bone in your upper jaw to support dental implants. It involves moving the sinus upward or “lifting” to make space for more bone material. It is usually done by taking a piece of the donor’s bone and grafting it into the existing jaw bone.

  • Tooth extraction
    In some cases, you may need to have your existing teeth removed before the placement of dental implants. This is done if the affected tooth has advanced decay and cannot be saved by root canal treatment. Often, you need to wait for at least two to three months after extraction to get your implants to allow your gums to heal. But, if you have sufficient jaw bone, your dentist can place an implant immediately.

Are There Alternatives to Dental Implants?

For those not eligible for dental implants, there are other tooth replacements you can choose from to address your dental issues, including:

  • Full or complete dentures
    If you lose all of your teeth, false teeth could restore the look and function of your teeth, but they need to be removed each night for cleaning and soaking. While traditional dentures are more affordable, they may sometimes cause discomfort or can slip out when speaking and eating.

  • Partial dentures
    Partial artificial teeth are removable dental prosthetics that can replace one or more missing teeth. They usually consist of a metal frame with false teeth held in place by clasps or metal frameworks that fit around the existing teeth.

  • Dental bidges
    These fixed prosthetics can fill the gaps caused by one or more missing teeth and are secured by attaching them to adjacent teeth. They can last up to 10 years, but they require grinding down the neighbouring natural teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth to make room for the bridge.You can also opt for a resin-bonded bridge, similar to traditional bridges. The only difference is that the false tooth will be attached to the nearby teeth with resin instead of a dental crown. It is also less invasive and can be reversed. However, it is not as long-lasting as the regular dental bridge.

Final Thoughts

Dental implants are restorative and cosmetic procedures that replace missing teeth and restore the function and appearance of your smile. They offer natural-looking results and long-lasting benefits that can positively impact the quality of your life. However, not all are good candidates for dental implants, so it’s important to talk to your dentist if you are suitable for this treatment.

You may contact Dentalcare of Forrestfield, and we can help determine your qualifications. During your initial consultation, we will evaluate your dental health, review your medical history, and discuss any steps you may need to take to become a viable candidate for dental implants. Our dental clinic is equipped with modern technology to help us provide quality implant treatments. We also have a team of dental professionals with years of experience performing this treatment. After they have established that you are qualified to have the treatment, they will create a treatment plan for you before starting the dental implant procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions

You will not feel any pain during the surgery because you will be given anesthesia. But when the effects of anaesthetics wear off, you may feel pain and discomfort that lasts for a few days. Your dentist will give you over-the-counter painkillers to help manage the pain. You can also apply ice packs to the affected area several times daily for the first 24 to 48 hours to help with pain and swelling.

Tooth implants don’t last forever. With proper care and depending on the type of implant, their lifespan can reach up to 25 years or more. 

This varies depending on your location and dentist, the complexity of your case, how many implants you need, the type of implants you require, whether or not you need additional procedures like bone grafting or sinus lift, and whether or not you have dental insurance. However, on average, a single dental implant costs $4,000 to $6,000. This is just an estimate that can go higher or lower, so it’s always a good idea to call your dentist beforehand to get a more accurate quote.

Along with the benefits, implants have disadvantages, such as the time it takes for the entire process to be completed, the potential for failure due to infection or rejection of the implant, and cost. This dental procedure also has some strict patient criteria, so you cannot have it if you don’t meet those or need additional treatments, which adds to your overall expenses.