The American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) has declared August “Dental Implant Month.” This month-long campaign is designed to educate and inspire people who might benefit from dental implants to overcome unjustified fears and get treatment from a qualified implant dentist.

There are three important things we want you to learn during Dental Implant Month:

  • Are you a candidate for dental implants?
  • What are the benefits of dental implants
  • The difference your implant dentist makes

If you come away with this information, we will consider Dental Implant Month a success. Today we’ll talk about who is a good candidate for dental implants.

A smiling woman sitting on a couch

Who Is a Candidate for Dental Implants?

There are really only three criteria for a candidate for dental implants:

Other than these three criteria, we can work with other concerns. Some conditions may require additional treatments, such as:

  • Current gum disease
  • Lack of bone in implant area
  • Lack of space for implant or restoration

If you have gum disease, we will want to treat it before you get your dental implants. If you don’t have enough bone for dental implants, we will perform additional procedures such as a bone graft that will replace your lost bone. This may be able to be done at the time of your implant placement, or it may require an additional procedure with a separate healing period of up to six months.

If you don’t have enough space for your dental implant, we might recommend orthodontics to create the space for the implant. This is usually a problem for people who have been missing a tooth for a while–that’s why it’s best to get a dental implant right after you lose a tooth!

Sometimes, conditions may reduce your odds of success below the 95% that most people experience. These include:

  • Current or past smoker
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Medications for osteoporosis or depression
  • Past cancer treatment

If you are a current smoker, you will have to quit at least for the procedure and the immediate recovery period. But it takes decades for your body to eliminate the toxins of cigarette smoke and return to normal, so if you’ve been a smoker in the recent past, you still may be at risk for a lower implant success rate.

Diabetes and osteoporosis have both in the past been considered significant barriers to dental implant placement. Some studies indicate these might not be as big a risk factor as we thought. They’re important to be aware of, but we’re not sure how much of a difference they make.

The osteoporosis medication bisphosphonates, on the other hand, can put you at significant risk for a complication known as drug-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (DRONJ). In this condition, your jawbone may die around your dental implant. It is usually only associated with strong intravenous formulations of bisphosphonates, but it is rarely associated with oral bisphosphonates, and your risk may be higher if you’ve been taking them for a long time.

Antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can increase your risk of dental implant failure by up to six times, making them one of the most important risk factors to consider.

Finally, if you have recently had radiation treatment for oral or throat cancer, we might want to postpone dental implant treatment to reduce your risk of osteonecrosis.

Were You Told You’re Not a Candidate? Get a Second Opinion!

Modern technology and techniques allow us to give dental implants to people who might have been told they weren’t candidates in the past. If you’ve been told by a dentist that you couldn’t get dental implants, it’s time to get a second opinion–you are likely a candidate.

The only way to tell for sure if you’re a candidate for dental implants in Columbus, OH is to get an evaluation by an implant dentist. Please call (614) 848-5001 today for an appointment with implant dentist Dr. Mike Firouzian.