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The Top Reasons You Should NOT Get Dental Implants


Have you considered getting dental implants and you’re not sure whether they’re right for you? There are a variety of reasons why dental implants might not be an option for you, and I want to go through those so you’re informed.

Hi, I’m Dr. Brett Langston. I’m an experienced prosthodontist and the director of Dental Implant and aesthetic specialist in Brookhaven, Georgia, and I’m here to help you watch your mouth.

What are Dental Implants?

Essentially, dental implants are a titanium screw that we put down on the bone and we can either use them to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or a whole arch of teeth. So the process is once you’ve got nice healthy bone, the screw goes into the bone and then we kind of close everything over and it takes a good three to four months before the bone cells actually grow onto the surface of the implant. At that point the implant, the term is called osseointegration.

The implant is actually a part of your bone. Once we’ve achieved that level of healing, then we can start building teeth on top. If you’re curious to learn more about dental implants in the whole process, watch this video as we kind of go in depth on the whole process from start to finish on getting dental implants.

Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

So the first thing I want to do is break down what it means to be a good candidate for implants. For implants to be successful, basically you have to have two things. You have to have a healthy patient with a healthy mouth, and you have to have adequate bone. 

There are Two Major Health Concerns that Give us Red Flags With Implants

Uncontrolled Diabetes

Number one is uncontrolled diabetes. The main reason for that is because if your bone and your body don’t heal properly, the bone in the body is never going to form correctly around the implant, and we’re just kind of setting ourselves up for failure.

Bone Growing Medicine

The other concern that we have is bone-growing medicine. So your Fosamax, your Boniva. While these are things we can work around, definitely something you want to bring up because those impair the body’s ability to heal around the implant.

The Importance of Healthy Bone

The other factor is healthy bone. And what I mean by that is we need to have an adequate quantity of bone because the implant needs to have bone surrounding all the way circumferentially around it, but it also has to have an adequate thickness. If the ridge is too thin, the implant runs the risk of not only failing but possibly breaking the bone. And that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible. We can always grow bone. We have lots of bone growing procedures through grafting augmentation, but these are all things that we’ll discuss with you once we’ve done a cone beam scan, which is a three-dimensional scan that lets us see exactly the quantity of bone and the quality of bone.

The other advantage of a cone beam scan is that we can plan out your surgery from start to finish so that we’ve actually already digitally, virtually placed your implant. We know exactly where we want to put it so we know we’ve got the best chance for success. But also allows me as the restorative doctor to plan out the tooth or the bridge or the denture that goes on top of it for ideal success.

Does Age Play a Role?

One question we get asked is how young or how old can I be to get implants or not get implants? And it’s a great question, and of course, the answer is, it depends. To be honest with you, there really isn’t an age limit at the top end. As long as you’re healthy and you’ve got good bone we feel that you’ll heal. The age is just a number. We’ve got patients we did a 95-year-old patient the other day, who did a single tooth implant, and, turned out great on the shorter end of the age range, when you’re younger, it presents a problem because we don’t know where your bone is going to end up.

For males generally under 25 and females under 21, we’re really not comfortable placing implants at the time. You put the implant in the bone, you plant it out, it’s great, it looks perfect, you put the teeth on top, everything’s wonderful. And then they continue to grow. And at 25 for females or in 30 35, all of a sudden the bone and the teeth and tissue around that implant have grown and changed, and your implant is still stuck where you placed it X many years ago.

So that presents a problem because a successful implant has bone all the way around it. So to change that, it’s a pretty invasive procedure where you actually have to drill away all the bone around the implant. You have to refine it out, and that leaves a pretty big hole basically that you have to fill with bone and you can replace with implants.

Frustrating as it is, and we do get a lot of cases where whether it’s a medical problem or missing teeth can generally missing teeth where we have parents that are like, can’t we just do these implants? Honestly, it’s better to wait. In those situations, we’ve got lots of techniques to kind of camouflage missing teeth, whether it’s resin-bonded bridges, natural bridges, or removal appliances. There are lots of things we can do for that young person until they get old enough and the bone is fully grown.

The Role of Smoking or Chewing Tabacco 

Another aspect that affects the success rate of implants are our smokers and chewers. So smoking creates not only a lot of immense heat in the area, but also the actual action of smoking can draw blood clots and cause the area to not heal the way we want. The chemicals and the carcinogens and basically all the stuff they put in cigarettes and in tobacco can really damage the mouth and not allow it to heal.

For an implant to be successful, we want to create that ideal site, that ideal area where the body can make it successful. Now, if you are a smoker, we can work around that. We can use nicorette patches, we can do things for cessation. In fact, I’ve had a lot of patients use getting an implant as a reason for them to finally quit smoking. They do the implant, they stop smoking for six weeks and they’re like, you know what? This is great. I’m saving a lot of money. I feel better. I got it worked out smoking. While it’s not a contraindication, it’s something we definitely want to discuss in plan for.

People Who Are NOT Candidates for Implants

Lastly, who else, besides everyone I’ve talked about is not a candidate for implants. People that have really poor bone, whether you’ve been missing teeth for a long time and your bone’s resorbed. And the last category is people with really bad hygiene and nobody really likes to talk about it, but if you don’t brush your teeth and don’t take care of your teeth, I don’t think you should make the investment in getting teeth put back in because if you don’t keep the mouth clean, just like you can get cavities, you can’t get cavities onto titanium implant, but you can get plaque and you can get buildup and you can cause bone loss.

And so you really need to be motivated to take care of ’em. And that’s the last category is people that aren’t motivated to care and clean for implants. Sometimes people think, Hey, I’ve got implants. I don’t have after brush, I don’t have after floss. And in fact, the opposite is true. A lot of time with implants. You have to increase your attention to your hygiene to make sure they’re successful.

What Steps Do We Take to See if You’re a Candidate for Implants? 

In our practice, every patient gets a three-dimensional cone beam scan, and what that does is allows us to see a big picture to see not only the areas where we might place implants, but the adjacent teeth, make sure everything is healthy, evaluate the bone strength, the bone quality, and it allows us to see around the nooks and crannies that sometimes we can’t see and plan for. We’ll also have an in-depth discussion with you about what your goals are. Not every patient is the same. Just because you’re missing a tooth doesn’t mean you need an implant. There are lots of other options. We’ll discuss that in other videos, but sometimes an implant isn’t the right solution. Having that in-depth conversation with you to make sure what you want and what we can provide for you, we’re all on the same page.

So if this sounds like you and you have questions about whether implants are right for you, click on the link and book a consultation. We would love to have you come in, we’d love to meet you. We’ll take a look at your mouth and we’ll sit down together and figure out what the best plan for you is.