Are Dental Implants Right for You?
Implants aren’t a good option for children and adolescents, because their jawbones are still growing. For adults, though, age doesn’t matter. Adults of any age may be good candidates for implants, depending on several factors.
For example, certain medical conditions can interfere with the success of implants. Treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and immunosuppression can hinder healing. In addition, people with conditions such as type 2 diabetes, bleeding disorders, immune deficiency, impaired cardiovascular function, or certain bone diseases are not good candidates for implants.
Having osteoporosis, a disease that causes bone loss, does not necessarily prevent a person from getting implants. Although bones elsewhere in the body may be damaged, the jawbone may not be affected to the degree that implants are impossible. If you have osteoporosis and are taking a bisphosphonate medication, ask your dentist whether this poses a problem. It appears that, rarely, bisphosphonates taken for osteoporosis can contribute to osteonecrosis, a condition in which jawbone is destroyed.
People who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day may not have as much success with implants. In a 2007 study in the Journal of Periodontology, the failure rate for light to moderate smokers was approximately 10 percent; for those who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day, the failure rate climbed to over 30 percent. If you are considering dental implants, it’s wise to quit smoking.
If you have any oral diseases—such as mouth ulcers, active periodontal disease, decay, or pulp problems—your dentist should treat them before placing dental implants. Implants may not be suitable for individuals who aren’t motivated to maintain their oral health or who have conditions that interfere with their ability to care for an implant over time.
Source: Dental Health for Adults: A Guide to Protecting Your Teeth and Gums. Copyright © by Harvard University. All rights reserved.