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Here at Acre Wood Dental in Waco, Texas, we have heard every reason under the sun as to why a person doesn’t want to go to the dentist. Whether it is because you are afraid or embarrassed, we are here to help you with all your oral health needs. And, believe us, we have seen it all! One of the biggest issues we see are people who are either missing a tooth or had a tooth extracted but didn’t go through with replacing the tooth. While Dr. Johnson places thousands of dental implants each year, there are some instances where a person cannot receive dental implants. Below are some reasons why you may not be a good candidate and some ways you can improve your chances of a successful procedure in the future.

Are You Taking Medication?

Unfortunately, certain medications may not be right for dental implants. Patients who are on certain chemotherapy drugs, bisphosphonates, or corticosteroids may not be able to receive dental implants. Studies have also shown that people who take beta-blocks for heart conditions or blood pressure see a higher chance of dental implant failure.

Uncontrolled Illnesses

Dental implant surgery is a fairly involved procedure. In order for implants to attach and heal successfully, patients should be generally healthy and free of disease that could hamper healing. Certain health problems, including cancer, hemophilia, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders, can disrupt a person’s candidacy to receive dental implants because these disorders can affect your ability to heal. Some of these conditions can also cause serious infections after the procedure. Another illness is osteonecrosis. Because osteonecrosis is a bone disease, it can fundamentally change the way the bone tissue responds to surgery. In this case, we don’t recommend dental implants.

If you have an ongoing medical condition, Dr. Johnson will carefully evaluate your medical history to determine whether or not you are a candidate for implant surgery.

Ongoing Dental or Periodontal Problems

The ideal candidate does not have active periodontal disease and maintains good oral health care. In order to be a good candidate for dental implants, you should be clear of periodontal disease. Gum disease can cause infections during the dental procedure and cause issues with the dental implant placement; however, Dr. Johnson and his staff can help get you back to good oral health. If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, you will need to come in for a deep cleaning. We will clear the right side of your mouth, and then you will come back to get the left side treated. In 6-8 weeks, you will come back for a re-evaluation. With periodontal disease, you will come in every 3-4 months for your cleaning instead of the usual 6 months. If you maintain good oral health, you can qualify for dental implants.

Insufficient Bone Mass or Density

Good bone density is imperative for dental implants. In order for the implant to be successful, the tissue in your jawbone needs to be strong enough to hold an implant. Studies have shown that there can be 25% bone loss within the first year a tooth is missing and 40% to 60% reduction in bone width within 3 years of a tooth missing. In order to fix bone loss, Dr. Johnson may recommend bone grafting.

Lifestyle Habits

Certain lifestyle habits, such as poor oral hygiene, excessive drinking, or smoking, can affect dental implant healing. In order to be a candidate for dental implant surgery, patients should be committed to maintaining an excellent dental hygiene routine, and to not smoking for the duration of the implant placement process. Since dental implant surgery is a multi-stage process that can take 4-12 months to complete, patients need to make sure that they are committed to not smoking for this time frame — or else risk dental implant failure. Patients should also avoid drinking while implants are healing since alcohol can dry out the mouth and impede healing.