young adult man smiling with teeth Many people in St. Louis have lost their teeth or are facing the loss of teeth. Experience with traditional dentures teaches us that they are not the best tooth replacement option. Dental implants are a modern alternative to dentures. Instead of having false teeth that sit on your gums, you can have replacement teeth that anchor in your bones, very similar to the way your natural teeth did. 

With dental implants, you can bite and chew normally. You’ll be able to speak clearly, and you’ll always know your attractive smile is in place when you open your mouth. 

Here’s more good news: most people who want them are candidates for dental implants. The best way to find out if implants are right for you is to schedule an appointment with implant dentist Dr. Chris Hile at Smile On Dental Studio. However, the following information can help you get some basic understanding of who are the best candidates for dental implants. 

Who Can Get Dental Implants?

Dental implants aren’t for everyone, but they are for most people who are considering them. You can get dental implants in St. Louis if you:

  • Have lost or are losing one or more teeth
  • Are an adult whose jaw has stopped growing
  • Are healthy enough for surgery

Dental implants are a tooth replacement treatment. In order to get dental implants, you need to have missing teeth. However, you don’t have to have lost them yet. If you have teeth that can’t be saved, Dr. Hill can plan your implant procedure to coincide with your extractions. You need never have a gap in your smile. 

Dental implants are very similar to natural teeth. However, they’re not exactly the same, and one way they’re different is how they interact with growing bone. For now, dental implants are only recommended for adults whose jaw has stopped growing. 

Dental implant surgery is not major surgery, but it is surgery. We need to make sure that all dental implant candidates are healthy enough for surgery. We will talk to you about your health history and contact your doctor if we have concerns. In some cases, Dr. Hill may request that you have a checkup before your dental implant procedure. 

Who Are the Best Candidates for Dental Implants?

The overall success rate for dental implants is 98%. However, there are many factors that might influence your personal odds of success. During your consultation with St. Louis implant dentist Dr. Hill, you may discuss other factors, such as:

  • Oral health
  • Bone volume and density
  • Commitment to hygiene
  • Smoking and other lifestyle factors
  • Medications

At Smile On Dental Studio in St. Louis, we want all our patients to have the best odds of success. Depending on the answers to these questions, Dr. Hill might recommend changes to your dental implant procedure, or he might recommend against dental implants for you. 

Healthy Gums for Healthy Implants

Like natural teeth, dental implants are vulnerable to gum disease. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss, and it’s the leading cause of dental implant failure. 

If you have gum disease, especially if that’s what led to your tooth loss, St. Louis implant dentist Dr. Hill might recommend treating your gum disease before getting dental implants. This may delay your implant procedure for several months. 

Dental Implants Need Bone for Support

Your dental implants depend on your bone for support. If you don’t have enough bone for implants, they might not be fully secure. If you lost your teeth a while ago, or if gum disease badly damaged your bone, we might have to supplement your bone with a bone graft. 

Sometimes, St. Louis implant dentist Dr. Hill can do some bone grafts at the time of surgery. Other times, you might need a separate procedure, followed by months of healing, before you get your dental implants. 

Take Care of Implants, and They’ll Take Care of You

Properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime (50+ years). However, you have to commit to caring for your implants. Fortunately, implants aren’t that hard to care for. Brush, floss, and make your regular dental appointments. 

People lose teeth for many reasons, but if you lost teeth because of poor oral hygiene, we might ask you to commit to more aggressive hygiene for your implants. This might include more frequent brushing and/or flossing and a change of equipment (an electric toothbrush, a water flosser, etc.) In some cases, we might recommend seeing your dentist more than twice a year. 

Dental implants are a big investment. You want to be committed to caring for them. 

Smoking and Other Lifestyle Factors

Smoking can reduce your odds of having successful dental implants. That’s because smoking impedes bone healing and increases gum disease risk. This makes implant failure more likely. For best results, you need to quit smoking for at least one to two weeks before your procedure and at least two months after. 

Other lifestyle choices that may affect dental implants include alcohol use, consumption of sugary foods, drug use, and more. 

Medications Can Impact Implants

Before your procedure, make sure you tell St. Louis implant dentist Dr. Chris Hill about all the medications you’re taking. Some medications, like antidepressants and osteoporosis medications, might impact your odds of success and risk complications. 

Don’t forget to include herbal supplements and over-the-counter medications–these can also cause problems in some cases!

Get Dental Implants in St. Louis

If you are considering dental implants in the St. Louis area, Smile On Dental Studio has two locations to help you. We’re in Downtown St. Louis near Washington Avenue and Tucker Blvd, and in Clayton, MO. 

Please call (314) 678-7876 or use our online contact form to request an appointment at either location.