If you are missing one or multiple teeth due to disease or trauma, you may be considering various options for tooth replacement. While there are a variety of options available today, dental implants provide one of the most safe and effective ways to replace missing teeth and maintain the appearance of healthy, natural-looking teeth.

Dental implants are ideal for those looking to restore their chewing ability, confidence and facial structure, but how do you know if you are the right candidate for dental implants? First and foremost, you need to be in optimal health and your mouth needs to be in optimal health. That means you should not smoke, have diseased gums or experience any type of pre-existing conditions that may prevent you from comfortably accepting and maintaining your dental implants.

Since dental implant surgery requires the implantation of an artificial root, which is a titanium post that is inserted into the jaw bone, your facial bones and gums need to be in good health.

While young children are not ideal candidates for dental implants since they are still growing and their mouths will continue to reshape and form, dental implants can be used for replacing broken, extracted or congenitally missing teeth after the jaw has reach full maturation. This typically occurs around age 18 for females and slightly later for males. Early diagnosis and planning in young patients will help to foresee the best replacement solution for missing teeth, and can be initiated as soon as a problem begins to appear.

For people with existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or other health problems that may put you at higher risk, dental implants may still serve as a tooth replacement option. The general rule of thumb is if you are healthy enough to undergo routine dental treatment, then you are likely healthy enough to have dental implant surgery.

Those who smoke tobacco regularly may not enjoy the same benefits of dental implant therapy as those who do not smoke, but may still be eligible for the surgery. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon can determine if you are healthy enough based on your medical history.

If you are missing teeth due to gum disease or bone loss, you may still be a candidate for dental implants, as long as you take good care of your oral health. Procedures such as bone grafting help to secure a dental implant in the jaw bone, and may be an option that is recommended based on your unique situation.

If you feel you may be a candidate for dental implant surgery, but you are unsure, please call us at Utah Facial & Oral Surgery for more information at (801) 356-2226 or visit us online at http://utahfacialandoralsurgery.com.

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By Dr. Christopher Price

Christopher J. Price DDS, MD is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, specializing in all aspects of oral and facial surgery. Dr. Price performs all aspects of oral, maxillofacial, and facial plastic and reconstructive procedures. Dr. Price’s interests include reconstructive surgery of the face and jaws, including placement of dental implants to replace teeth that have been removed, the removal of wisdom teeth, corrective jaw surgery, and surgical treatment of snoring and sleep apnea.

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