Who should have implants?

A number of factors affect whether dental implants are a good choice for you:

  • Overall health

  • Bone and gum health

  • Health conditions and other risk factors

  • Age

In order to get dental implants, you must be healthy enough to undergo implant surgery. In addition to good overall health, implant candidates must have adequate gum tissue and jawbone to support dental implants. Your doctor may determine that a bone grafting procedure or a sinus lift will be needed to augment areas of insufficient bone or create more space to accommodate an implant.

Generally, underlying health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes will not rule out implant placement as long as the condition is being properly monitored and controlled. Although osteoporosis has not been found to contribute to implant failure, your surgeon and physician will need to work together to determine whether dental implants are a good treatment option for you if you have this diagnosis.

Since smoking impairs the body’s healing mechanisms, smokers experience higher implant failure rates than nonsmokers. Therefore, smoking is highly discouraged among those considering dental implants.

Implants are usually not placed until the jaws have fully matured (this generally occurs between the ages 16 and 18). There is no upper age limit for implant placement; in fact, implants have been successfully placed in individuals in their 80s and 90s.

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