The 4 Characteristics of a Candidate for Dental Implants

March 6, 2019
Even if you’ve done your research on dental implants, you may be wondering if you are qualified to get them. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but chances are you will fit the bill.
According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), the best candidates for dental implants share four characteristics.

1. Good medical health

If you’re thinking about getting a dental implant, you need to make sure you’re healthy. Be sure to inform your dentist about your medical history and any medications you are taking.

“[Dental] implants work best when a patient is in good health, or if they do suffer from any mild diseases, that they are under control, such as diabetes,” said Dr. Frank Caputo of Cudahy, Wisconsin. He added that certain conditions, like uncontrolled diabetes, could keep a patient from healing properly, while others, such as a recent cardiac event (i.e. heart attack, stroke), will postpone surgery till a later date.

According to Dr. Ira Goldberg of Succasunna, New Jersey, you also need enough bone to support the implant. In that case, your dentist may be able to grow bone where it’s needed using a process called “grafting.” “We add (artificial bone) into the deficient areas,” Goldberg said. “Sometimes we’ll use something called a membrane … to help hold the graft in place, and the body will turn (the graft) over and grow it into its own bone.”

2. Good oral health

Before you get a dental implant, you should take good care of your teeth. Since dental implants involve surgery, infections or gum disease could reduce the chances your implant can successfully be placed in your mouth.

“With dental implants, we have to make sure the rest of the mouth is in good health,” Caputo said. Your dentist may also suggest treatment to optimize your oral health before they give your implants the go-ahead. “We always have to address any immediate concerns to get the patient to optimal health of the mouth prior to moving forward with the implant. This may include a routine cleaning, or clearing up any active infections” Caputo added.

3. An understanding mindset

Even before you’ve decided to get an implant, you need to have the mindset that there are risks and complications.

“I want my patient to have a truly good understanding of what’s going on, what are the alternatives, what are the risks, the benefits,” Caputo said. For example, Caputo said, the crown of a dental implant – which is the part of the implant that looks like a tooth – can wear and tear just like a regular crown or cap. Implants may also be subject to periodontal disease, called peri-implant disease, which inflames the gums and if not addressed, can affect the underlying bone, Caputo said.

And even if you’ve read up on dental implants, you should always consult with your AAID-credentialed dentist about your specific situation.

“We have a saying that you always start with the end (goal) in mind,” Goldberg said. “Just like when you’re building a house, the builder’s going to listen to what the customer’s desires are. From there, they can plan backwards and figure out the important details, such as what kind of foundation they’re going to have to build, or the size of the lumber to support the desired house.”

4. A commitment to oral hygiene

After your implant is in place, you should regularly brush and floss your teeth, and go to your dentist for scheduled check-ups, cleaning, and X-rays.

“A commitment to sound home care and routine dental cleanings is paramount” to a successful dental implant, Caputo said. You may have to go to the dentist more often than usual depending on the procedure you received.

 “A person with healthy dental implants … (should) come to the dentist every 6 months,” Goldberg said, adding that someone who has undergone a major reconstruction may be asked to return every 3 to 4 months.

Dentists consulted for this article include Frank A. Caputo DDS, AFAAID of Cudahy Dental Associates in Cudahy, Wisconsin and Ira Goldberg, DDS, FAAID, DABOI/ID, DICOI of Morris Dental Associates in Succasunna, New Jersey.

 What are those letters after the dentist’s name? Find out what they mean.

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Topics: Getting started with dental implants, what to know about implants

How to Find an Implant Dentist You Trust

February 19, 2019

Word has it you’re looking to get dental implants. A quick Google search will yield hundreds of results—but where on Earth can you find an implant dentist that you can trust?

For starters, you should find a dentist with credentialing and expertise in implant dentistry. Many general dentists offer implant services at their practice; however, most do not have the expertise in all phases of implant dentistry that an AAID-credentialed member possesses. The success rate of dental implants has been reported to be as high as 90-95% (source: Journal of Oral Implantology), making it one of the most predictable dental procedures.

Dental implant failure can cause a variety of issues, and to maximize the likelihood of a successful outcome with your dental implant, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry has created a directory of implant dentists who have completed the rigorous training needed to become a qualified implant dentist. Credentialed members of the AAID—Fellows and Associate Fellows—have taken extra steps to ensure their education is on par with the most current and innovative procedures in implant dentistry. Their passion and credibility have been established through the 300-500+ hours of training under their belt.

Fellows and Associate Fellows have the utmost experience in surgical and prosthetic aspects of dental implant treatment and are well equipped to help you successfully transition into your beautiful new teeth and live life the way you want to! So, when you are looking for an implant dentist, you should always ask to see if they are AAID-credentialed. They are experts who specialize in implant supported replacement teeth.

To find an implant dentist you can trust, take a look at AAID’s Find a Dentist Tool. This tool will help you locate an AAID-credentialed dentist in your area.

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Topics: Choosing an implant dentist

Dental Implants Are the Preferred Option for Aging Bridges

September 18, 2018

Replace those bridges to nowhere. 

Aging dental bridges are a maintenance headache and a recipe for oral-health disaster. They are difficult to floss, often decay, and require replacement with longer bridges. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), these bridges to nowhere should be replaced with permanent dental implants.    

“Many of us have had the same bridges in our mouths for 20 years or more. They were put in at a time when bridgework was considered to be the norm for replacing missing or compromised teeth,” said Dr. Olivia Palmer of Charleston, South Carolina, a fellow of the AAID and diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology.    

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Topics: Getting started with dental implants, dental implant research, what to know about implants

Why It's Important to Discuss Medications with Your Implant Dentist

September 11, 2018

As a patient, getting a dental implant can seem simple, straightforward, and easy. But that is primarily because your implant dentist is highly trained, experienced, and—in the case of those credentialed by AAID—a dental implant expert.

One of the important factors your implant dentist considers is how any drugs or supplements you take will affect the implant process. This includes herbal supplements, blood thinners, antidepressants, tobacco, osteoporosis medication, and anything else you take or use.

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Topics: dental implant process, what to know about implants

September is Dental Implant Awareness Month

September 1, 2018

Hundreds of
 American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID)   dentists and their patients around the country will celebrate 2018 Dental Implant Awareness Month in September. This year’s theme, “Live a Life Full of Smiles,” highlights the benefits that more than 3 million people in the United States who have implants have realized from their investment in their dental health.
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Topics: Dental Implant Awareness Month

What Our Teeth Tell Us About Vitamin D

July 18, 2018

Did you know that your teeth can provide information about your whole-body health? This insight has allowed scientists to discover much about early human health history. A study published in the journal
Current Anthropology describes how scientists have discovered a way to examine ancient human teeth for signs of vitamin D deficiency. It's fascinating look back into the past, as these studies have provided surprising information.

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Topics: health connection, overall health

Teeth in a Day—Myth or Reality? How the Dental Implant Process Works

June 1, 2018

You might’ve heard or seen some TV commercials promising viewers new teeth in one day. 

Is it too good to be true?

The good news is that it's not a myth. But the reality is that there is a lot of planning, as well as several visits, that go into preparing for that special “day.”

“Patients researching their options to restore their smile with dental implants need to understand some important concepts so that they can make well-educated decisions regarding comfort, function, and esthetics based on their treatment objectives,” says Dr. Adam Kimowitz of Denville, New Jersey

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Topics: dental implant process, timeline for implants, FAQs

Considering Dental Implants? Here Are 5 Things You Should Know

May 23, 2018

If you’ve lost a tooth (or several), you’ve got more options than a fixed bridge or removable dentures. 

Dental implants are the most popular, effective alternative for people who suffer from: 

  • Missing teeth
  • Deteriorating teeth
  • Long-term dental issues
  • Congenitally missing teeth
  • Traumatic injury to natural teeth

Known as the new standard for tooth replacement, dental implants fit and feel like natural teeth. A dental implant is an artificial tooth “root” surgically placed in your mouth to support a crown, denture, or bridge. Made from titanium metal, it fuses around the jawbone, serving as a root for the missing tooth. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind, if you’re considering dental implants. 

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Topics: Getting started with dental implants, dental implant research, Choosing an implant dentist

About LifeSmiles

The LifeSmiles blog empowers individuals struggling with dental problems to find reliable, practical information and advice on dental implants and how to find a qualified implant expert. Our goal is to ensure that quality care and peace of mind is available to every dental implant patient.

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