Do certain health conditions reduce implant success?

Patients often pursue dental implants to replace teeth lost to tooth decay or gum disease, but those very oral health problems may compromise dental implant success.

Dental implants, which are made of titanium, are so effective because the titanium is capable of fusing with the jawbone in a process known as osseointegration.

Unfortunately, untreated gum disease can interfere with osseointegration. The same inflammation that damages the soft tissue can affect the underlying bone, making it unsuitable to support the dental implant. Patients with advanced gum disease need to have that condition under control before proceeding with dental implants.

Other short-term or chronic health problems also may have some effect on your ability to have dental implants placed.

Before an oral surgeon can place the dental implants, the patient must be healthy enough to tolerate a surgical procedure. If you develop some sort of acute health problem in the days before your scheduled implant placement, the surgeon may recommend delaying the procedure until you have recovered fully from that issue.

Infection is also a significant concern when receiving dental implants. An infection can disrupt the healing process as well as osseointegration. Patients should be free of infection before undergoing implant placement and take steps to minimize their chances of developing a post-operative infection.

Patients with chronic health problems that have been linked to gum disease, like diabetes and heart disease, may face challenges in getting dental implants if they are more susceptible to flare-ups of periodontitis. Additionally, patients who have received radiation for head and neck cancers may have limited jawbone material available to support dental implants. In these circumstances, the oral surgeon will evaluate patients for dental implants on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to health issues, certain habits may limit the longevity of your dental implants. For example, smoking is often a factor in dental implant failure.

Patients who opt for dental implants do so to take advantage of a durable, stable tooth replacement method. To get the maximum lifespan from your dental implants, discuss any health concerns with our oral surgery team at Dallas Oral Surgery Associates in advance of the placement procedure.