Establishing Your Candidacy for Dental Implants

If you are missing one or more of your natural teeth, you may be a good candidate for dental implants. Secured directly into your jaw, these restorations provide a long-lasting solution to missing teeth and the accompanying oral health problems. Dr. Michael A. Pikos can evaluate your candidacy for dental implants at his Tampa, FL, practice. Contact our restorative and cosmetic dentistry practice today to find out whether you might be able to enjoy the many benefits that dental implants have to offer.

Ideal Candidates

The best candidates for dental implants are missing one or more of their natural teeth, but are generally healthy enough to undergo routine dental extraction or oral surgery. Patients should have healthy gums, be committed to maintaining good oral hygiene, and have sufficient jaw bone tissue to support the titanium implant posts. The issue of bone density can be a concern for some patients, but procedures such as bone grafting and sinus lifts are available to help regenerate the tissue.

Preparatory Procedures

While the ideal candidates for dental implants are typically missing teeth already, long-term tooth loss can counter-intuitively lower your chance for a successful implant. When people’s teeth have been missing for a long time, their bodies take note and start redirecting minerals and nutrients to places where they can be used more efficiently. As a consequence, the jawbone starts to lose density and becomes substantially weaker. Because implant posts integrate with the bone, weak jawbone tissue can compromise the success of a dental implant.

Bone Grafting

The most common procedure available to counter a weakened jawbone is bone grafting. Also known as bone augmentation, the procedure builds up bone density and mass with tissue harvested from elsewhere in your body, from an outside source, or from synthetic material. Once collected, the tissue is surgically secured in your jaw with small screws. The new tissue is also supplemented with your own bone marrow and other growth-promoting substances to catalyze the development of new bone tissue.

After the graft and supplements are set in place, the surgical site is closed up with membrane and sutures and patients are prescribed with antibiotics and pain medication. The bone graft will typically heal and begin to spur bone growth within the next six to nine months. Once you have sufficiently recovered, your dentist will determine whether the bone tissue boosted by the graft is dense enough to support implants.

Sinus Lift

The other procedure most commonly used to improve bone density is a special type of bone graft known as a sinus lift. This graft builds up bone tissue in the area directly above the molars on your upper jaw, just behind your cheekbones. Because this space overlaps with the tissues at the base of the maxillary sinus, the sinus needs to be lifted in order to make room for a bone graft. Once the membrane has been moved up high enough from the jaw, the bone graft tissue will be packed into its old space and the surgical site sewn up. A successful sinus lift will stimulate bone growth within six to nine months, as well.

Other Considerations

While most people who are missing some or all of their natural teeth are good candidates for implants, certain factors can influence the success of the surgery, such as:

  • Heavy smoking
  • Untreated periodontal disease
  • Uncontrolled chronic disorders (diabetes, heart disease)
  • Radiation to head/neck area

Each of the above can interfere with a patient’s ability to heal, which may severely decrease the chances of success. However, cases are usually evaluated on an individual basis. Be sure to discuss your history with your dentist to ensure the best possible outcome for your implant placement.

Contact Our Dental Practice Today

Here at Coastal Jaw Surgery, our mission is to provide surpassing care to all of our patients. Please contact us today to schedule your dental implants consultation at our Palm Harbor, Trinity, or Spring Hill location.

Contact us today to learn more about our dental implants services including Same Day Teeth®–our same day dental implants service that sends you home with new teeth the very same day. Contact us today to schedule your consultation appointment. Coastal Jaw Surgery has locations in Palm Harbor, Trinity, and Spring Hill. Call us at 1-800-NEW-LOOK (Outside Florida: 727-877-0011) or send us a message using the form below.