One of the best decisions you can make is choosing to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant. Dental implants can last forever if you care for them properly, and they look like real teeth. They also function like real teeth, and they do not rely on the use of other teeth to hold them in place. Before you can get an implant, though, your dentist will have to complete the following three steps to make sure you are a good candidate.
Examine your mouth
The first step is a visual examination of your mouth. When a dentist does this, it is to look at the area where the gap is, and it is also to make sure your mouth is healthy and able to handle an implant. If the dentist finds signs of gum disease or other oral problems, he or she might suggest fixing these problems before proceeding.
Take x-rays to see your jawbone
The second thing your dentist must do is take x-rays of the area where the implant will be placed. X-rays are the only way a dentist can see what lies behind your gums, and the main thing he or she will look for is the density of your jawbone.
To get an implant, it is vital for you to have a sufficient density of jawbone in this area. Without enough jawbone, your mouth will not be able to hold the implant in place. If you do not have enough jawbone, you can still likely get an implant; however, you may first need to undergo a bone graft procedure to add extra bone to your jaw before getting the implant.
Determine if you are healthy enough for one
Your dentist will also ask you a series of health-related questions when determining whether you qualify for a dental implant. If you have any type of health problem that weakens the immune system, a dental implant might not work for you. Your body needs a healthy immune system to heal from a dental implant procedure, and this is why your dentist will ask you about your health.
If you want to fill in a gap in your mouth where a tooth once existed, consider a dental implant. You can visit a dentist in your city to find out if you are a good candidate for an implant, and he or she is likely to perform these three steps to answer this question.