22 December 2022

Senior Female Model with Dental Implants

Dental implants are among the most effective methods of teeth replacement. They can be used as a treatment in many situations, whether a patient is missing one, several, or all of their teeth.

The surgical implantation of dental implants is a more invasive process than other solutions like crowns or dentures. This may leave you wondering about the impact that existing medical conditions could have on your treatment plan.

What Is the Dental Implant Treatment Process?

Getting dental implants begins with a consultation with your dentist regarding your current dental issues and outlook. If you are currently missing teeth or will require extraction due to physical damage, decay, or disease, then dental implants are one of the treatments that will be considered.

If a tooth is already missing or cannot be saved, then a dental implant could be the best option. A dental bridge is another potential treatment, but this will involve removing material from the surrounding healthy teeth to prepare them. A dental implant avoids this, leaving healthy teeth untouched.

If dental implants appear to be a good treatment option, your dentist will refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Oral Surgeons have additional training and experience that makes them experts in the placement of dental implants. They will play a key role in determining the ultimate viability of dental implants for your specific situation.

Because the dental implant is anchored in the jaw bone, the bone must be thick and wide enough to accommodate the implant. If you do not have enough bone in your jaw, you made require a bone graft before dental implant treatment.

For some patients, the jaw bone may not be able to hold the implant due to disease, orthodontic issues, or even normal variations in jaw bone size. In these cases, bone from another location can be grafted on. The surgery can proceed as usual once the bone graft has been integrated.

During the surgery itself, the surgeon will implant one or more titanium posts at the locations where tooth replacements are needed. Titanium is a material that the bone will naturally integrate with, providing a strong foundation. After the area has healed, a crown, bridge, or full arch replacement is fixed to the dental implants.

How Medical Conditions Can Impact Your Dental Implant Treatment

If you have any underlying medical conditions, you will have to discuss these with the doctor while planning your treatment. Even if you do not believe the condition to be relevant, the doctor needs to know your full medical history.

Patients with severe diabetes are at higher risk of dental implant failure. Diabetes can slow healing, affecting recovery after implant surgery. However, diabetic patients who have insulin levels under control through medication, diet, and exercise are still very good candidates for implant surgery.

Jaw bone and sinus issues can further complicate the treatment. If a patient has suffered jaw bone loss due to periodontal disease, they could require additional bone grafts. Similarly, patients with low sinuses could require additional sinus lift surgery to make room for the dental implant posts in the upper jaw.

Patients who are undergoing treatment for head or neck cancer may or may not be eligible for dental implant surgery. Radiation therapy can cause the bone to be incapable of properly integrating the titanium posts, leading to a high risk of failure.

Finding Out Whether Dental Implants Are Right for You

A variety of conditions can impact the viability of dental implants for any given patient. Every patient is an individual, and to find out whether your unique case is right for dental implants, seek the advice of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

You can schedule a consultation at Mid-Kansas Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery to determine whether dental implants are right for you or if alternative treatment options could be the best choice. Just contact us today to get started.