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So you’ve lost one or more of your teeth, and you’re looking for a way to treat this issue. When it comes to tooth loss, there are many options, but one that has become highly sophisticated and effective in recent years is a dental implant.

At Grace Dental Group, our provider Woo Young Lee, DDS, offers dental implants as an option for patients with missing teeth. However, this procedure isn’t for everyone, and there are a few specific qualifications you should meet to be an effective candidate for a dental implant.

The lowdown on dental implants

First, though, let’s break down the what and why of dental implants. The implant itself is a titanium post that looks sort of like a screw. It is inserted into the jawbone in the place of the missing tooth, and the bone fuses around it like it would a natural tooth. Then a crown — which looks and feels like a natural tooth — is fitted on top of it.

You may be thinking this is a lot to replace one little tooth, but missing teeth can cause all kinds of problems for your oral health down the line. And while dental implants weren’t always the go-to treatment for fixing this issue, a 2020 study states that they have become integral for treating missing teeth. They have a success rate of 97% and other benefits over partial dentures.

Dental implants are fantastic because they look and feel like natural teeth. They don’t need to be removed and replaced as dentures do, and they’re incredibly sturdy, often lasting for years after being initially inserted. But how can you know this procedure is correct for you?

A good candidate for a dental implant

Dr. Lee believes that no other treatment matches the dental implant in terms of functionality, ease of care, and durability. But first, you’ll want to determine if this procedure is best for your needs. Here are some of the ways you can ensure that you’re a good candidate for an implant.

Healthy teeth and gums

If you had your tooth knocked out in an accident or lost it some other way that didn’t affect the rest of your oral health, this could make you a great candidate for an implant. Because those who suffer from poor oral health — especially gum disease — can experience problems with a dental implant, your oral health should be up to a certain standard before you get your implant.

Healthy and dense bone structure

The jawbone will need to be healthy to fuse with the dental implant. This means your bone structure will need to be dense and in good condition for the implant to work. Also, in some cases, children whose jawbones aren’t fully grown can be a less than ideal candidate for this procedure.

A good oral care routine

However, just having healthy bones and a healthy mouth isn’t enough to make you a perfect candidate. You must also be committed to an excellent oral care routine, one that includes brushing twice a day, getting a new toothbrush every three months, flossing, and doing everything else recommended to keep your mouth healthy and happy.

Not smoking

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to give up smoking, here’s a great one. Individuals who smoke usually aren’t good candidates for the procedure. Smoking can increase the risk of infection and cause the healing process to slow down. If you are a nonsmoker now, you have even more reason to choose this procedure.

Being committed to the process

Unlike being fitted for dentures, this process can be time-consuming. You will need to wait for the jawbone to fuse with the implant before being fitted with the crown, which can take time. If you know you are committed to the entire process, which can sometimes take as long as a year, you are likely a great candidate for an implant.

Is it time for an implant?

If you’ve considered all of the critical aspects of being a good implant candidate and found they describe you, that’s great news! We would be happy to talk to you about beginning the process as soon as possible. Just call (415) 921-8867 to book an appointment at our San Francisco, CA office or book an appointment online.

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