If you’ve experienced the unfortunate circumstance of losing a tooth, there has never been a better time to have it replaced. Dental implants are as close to restoring your lost tooth in terms of look, feel, fit and function you can get. Unlike dentures or bridges, dental implants are less likely to lead to bone deterioration or interfere with natural, everyday activities. But as with any medical procedure, St. Luke’s OMS wants to make sure that its patients are as informed as possible before agreeing to dental implants.

The good news is that dental implants have an extremely high success rate. According to a study published in 2008 in the Journal of Endodontics, dental implants had a success rate of 98.4%. And since 2008, improvements continue to be made to the digital imaging used for implant creation, and the materials within the implant itself. Consequently, you can rest easy knowing your smile will reach new heights!

Before undergoing a dental implant procedure, please consider the following.

Potential Complications From Dental Implants

Oral surgeries have a common set of potential complications that should always be considered. If you do not take proper care of the implant site, infection is always a risk. Sinus problems also can occur with implants that are placed in the upper part of the jaw and protrude into the sinus cavities. Damage to nearby teeth, blood vessels and nerves within the mouth also is possible.

The latter examples are rare and usually minor, meaning that treatment to rectify any complication is often possible. Infections are the most preventable risk, but rely on you to follow the care instructions provided by your doctor.

Who is the Ideal Patient for Dental Implants?

People’s mouths and habits are all a little different, and several characteristics may make you more or less ideal for an implant. To gauge your implants for success, your surgeon will assess you for several different factors.

What are Your Health Habits?

The ideal candidate will be generally healthy and have no major health issues. They will not smoke and display high standards of hygiene. The more severe the health complications – ranging from moderate conditions such as osteoporosis and reduced immune system, to severe conditions such as cardiovascular disease and bleeding disease – the higher the possibility that your doctor may refuse to perform a dental implant.

Another factor surgeons will consider is the patient’s personal aesthetic expectations for the procedure. While dental implants can certainly improve the appearance of your teeth, unrealistic expectations will be noted during your assessment and factor in to projecting the procedure’s success.

Do You Have Any Dental Risk Factors?

After taking an initial gauge of your health and hygiene, your surgeon will then take a closer look at your teeth. What they find will help enhance the surgery’s success and help ensure your satisfaction.

So, what are the dental risk factors? The examination will cover how white your teeth are, the appearance of plaque and calculus deposits, and how many fillings and crowns you’ve had. Have you had gingivitis? How loose are your teeth? Are they crowded or even? These results all will play a factor.

Will Your Dental Implant Hold Well?

Finally, assuming you are still a good candidate for a dental implant, your surgeon will now assess the practical elements of where the dental implant will be. Dental implants require enough space within the bone, both in depth and in the nearby area. If there isn’t enough space, the implant will be at risk to break or damage nearby vital structures. The last thing you want is to go in to get a dental implant and cause more problems than you had before!

This is part of the reason why the teeth near the front of your mouth are usually better candidates for a dental implant.  Also, keep in mind that the more implants you need, the more complications may arise from the surgery.


Get a Consultation for Dental Implants in the Lehigh Valley

At St. Luke’s OMS, we want everyone to have their very best smile. That’s why all our oral surgeons performing dental implants have extensive experience and regularly stay up to date with the latest and most effective techniques. If you have a lost tooth that you want to replace with a dental implant, call us today at 610-865-8077.