Who is an Implant Candidate

If you're interested in replacing a missing tooth or teeth, dental implants may be an option for you. Not everybody, however, is a good candidate for implants.

A good candidate should have the following:

• Good health

• Healthy gums

• Enough bone to anchor the implants in the jaw — Some people who have lost bone in their jaw still can get implants, but first the bone must be rebuilt using special procedures.

• A commitment to taking very good care of the implanted teeth and surrounding gums — Daily brushing and flossing are essential. Regular visits to the dentist for follow-up are also important.

The first request for a good candidate

Some people may not be good candidates for implants. They include:

• Young people whose jawbones have not developed completely

• Pregnant women

• Heavy smokers — Smoking hinders healing in the mouth. It can reduce the likelihood of a successful implant.

• Alcohol or substance abusers

• People who have received high-dose radiation treatment of the head or neck

• People with chronic diseases or systemic problems, including:

     - High blood pressure

     - Diabetes

     - Connective-tissue diseases

     - Hemophilia

     - Significant immune deficiencies

You still may be a good candidate for implants even if you have one of these conditions. It depends on the extent and severity of the condition.

• People who take certain medicines, such as steroids or drugs that suppress the immune system

• People who severely grind or clench their teeth — These habits can place too much pressure on the implants and increase the risk of failure.

Your dentist can evaluate you to see if you would be a good candidate for implants.