A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that a specialized dental surgeon installs to replace lost teeth. Tooth implants are permanent, and come with a number of advantages. They can be made to exactly match the surrounding teeth, so no one will be able to tell that the tooth is false. Dental implants don’t harm the surrounding teeth, like some bridgework may, and they require no maintenance beyond good oral hygiene.
While dental implants are highly successful generally and can last for decades, there are certain health conditions that may reduce their success in individual cases. Peri-implantitis is a bacterial infection in the bone surrounding the implant. This can lead to bone loss, abscessing, and failure of the implant. Peri-implantitis can be avoided with proper implant care.
Patients who have a history of bruxism, or clenching and grinding of the teeth, may also have a reduced rate of implant success. The force created by a patient with bruxism can cause the implant to shift, especially if it is still in the healing stage. If you have a history of bruxism, a mouth guard may prevent the condition from damaging your implants.
Patients with chronic illnesses such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes also have a marginally higher risk of implant failure than patients without these conditions. Most implant dentists can map out a plan for your dental implants that includes considering how well controlled these conditions are in the patient. Patients who suffer from these illnesses but have them under control with medication and a healthy lifestyle should still be candidates for dental implants.
Smokers are also at a higher risk for implant failure, though that isn’t necessarily a health condition. However, smoking causes a number of conditions that can affect the implants. Smokers have a higher rate of post-installation infection. They also heal slower than non-smokers because smoking lowers blood and oxygen flow to the surgical site.
Your implant dentist will discuss your individual health concerns before placing dental implants, so be sure to mention any pre-existing conditions you may have at your consultation.
To learn more about dental implants and to see if you are a candidate, contact the Las Vegas office of Dr. Carlos Letelier at 702-367-6666 to schedule your consultation.