You have probably heard great things about dental implants and would love to get some (to replace teeth you have lost), but before anything else understand that there is a criteria being followed for patient selection. Just as in other treatment options, the existing condition and specificity of the case is studied to determine feasibility. More importantly, however, patient selection is more critical for dental implants because
When a patient comes in and expresses the desire to receive dental implants, he undergoes thorough diagnosis. To decrease the likelihood of failure and to protect the investment that patients make, measures are set to determine whether or not you are a candidate.
How is the general health condition of the patient? It is important that a patient is healthy before he is accepted as a candidate for dental implants. If a patient is suffering from: heart diseases (vulvulopathy, cardiomyopathy, cardiac insufficiency and a recent infarction); active cancer, especially of bone; immunological disease; mental disease; and bone disease, he cannot be given dental implants. There are certain health conditions such as pregnancy, diabetes and others that are not absolute disqualifiers—and are treated on a case-to-case basis. Poor oral hygiene is also an issue because plaque is an enemy of the bone. A thorough assessment of the health of the patient is necessary in determining where compromises and borderlines may be drawn.
How is the bone health and condition? Using dental radiograph, casts, photos and ct scans, the quality and quantity of the bone is determined. A patient with bone disease will have compromised bone health and all of these will be reflected in the diagnostic phase of treatment. Since the stability of the implant will rely on the bone, its health is measured closely.
Is the patient a smoker, an alcoholic or a drug addict? These lifestyle habits are not absolute disqualifiers as long as they may be controlled. These substances often have a general effect on the health of the body; and since the success of the implants rely on the perfect healing of bone, these toxic substances can easily get in the way of achieving optimum results.
Is the patient a bruxer? If the patient is a habitual night grinder or bruxer, he will not be a good candidate for implants (especially if he undergoes immediate loading; i.e. dental crowns are installed after insertion of implants). The implant needs to gain stability within the bone and the constant disruption of a nightly habit will get in the way of osseointegration and overall success.
Does the patient need supportive treatment to deem the procedure a possibility? If the bone is low in quality and quantity but all other aspects are a non-issue, grafting procedures may be discussed to solve this contraindication. If the condition of the bone may be altered, then there is not going to be any problem.
How old is the patient? A patient within the growing bone years is not allowed to receive dental implants. The bone is immature and still developing so it cannot receive dental implants—and insisting so will just lead to case failure. An old patient, on the other hand, is not an automatic disqualifier. As a matter of fact, as long as bone health and general health is satisfactory, an elderly patient may opt to receive implants.
As you will see, there are contraindications that will completely disqualify a patient and there are some conditions that merely require adjustments. In the diagnostic and treatment planning phases, patients and their cases are studied closely to determine not only the possibility of the treatment but the prognosis. As a patient, it is your responsibility to accept the answers. Remember that your dentist desire to always give you the best, but he or she will something be limited to do so. Should you be found a bad candidate, know that there are still other options you can explore—your perfect smile is still a possibility!