23 February 2023

Can I Get Dental Implants If I Have Existing Medical Conditions?

Dental implants provide a highly effective tooth replacement method for many situations. Implants can be used to replace one, multiple, or entire arches of teeth.

Placing titanium dental implants requires implant surgery, a more invasive process than other tooth replacement options. Like with other surgeries, some medical conditions can reduce the likelihood that you’re a good candidate for dental implants.

The Dental Implant Process

The dental implant process starts with a consultation with an oral surgeon to determine whether implants are a suitable treatment option. Any patient who is missing one or more teeth could be a potential candidate for dental implants, and only an evaluation from an oral surgeon can determine your candidacy for sure.

In many cases, you may be referred to an oral surgeon by your dentist when certain dental issues arise. If you’re going to require extraction due to tooth decay or damage, a referral to an oral surgeon can determine whether dental implants would be a suitable option for tooth replacement.

One of the primary areas of concern during the evaluation will be bone dimension. The dental implant process relies on a strong and healthy jawbone to provide support for tooth replacements. If the bone is too thin, a bone graft may be needed in order to provide additional bony support.

Insufficient bone dimension for dental implants can arise from several causes. Some people can have jaw bones that naturally fall outside the suitable range for dental implants. Jaw bone deterioration from living with missing teeth for an extended period of time can also lead to the need for bone grafts.

After the bone graft, or in cases where it is not necessary, the surgery can then take place. The oral surgeon will embed one or more dental implants. As you heal from the surgery, the titanium posts are naturally integrated into the jaw bone to provide an incredibly strong base. 

Once the healing process is complete, the dental implants are capped with a crown, bridge, or full arch restoration by your primary care dentist.

Which Medical Conditions Can Affect Dental Implants?

Like with any other surgery or treatment plan, it’s important to discuss your medical history and any conditions or medications that could impact the outcome. Make sure to tell the oral surgeon everything during your consultation so that they can develop the most suitable treatment plan.

Both diabetes and hypertension can affect eligibility for essentially any surgery. In some cases, high blood pressure can negatively affect your outlook for dental implants. At the very least, adjustments will be made to the procedure in terms of sedation, medication, and recovery.

Severe diabetes, in particular, is associated with negative dental implant outcomes. The reason is that diabetes slows the body’s natural healing abilities, affecting your recovery. Diabetes that is under control through insulin or other medication is unlikely to have a major impact on your eligibility for dental implants.

Bone loss due to various conditions can also affect your treatment plan, especially when bone grafts are needed. Periodontal disease can affect the jaw bone, as can jaw bone deterioration due to missing teeth.

Osteoporosis similarly reduces your likelihood of success with dental implants. The weakened bone is more likely to develop issues and lead to implant failure. The condition also makes bone grafts considerably less likely to succeed, eliminating one of the most widely used interventions.

Many other conditions can also drastically impact your dental implant treatment plan. Head or neck cancers, in particular, are likely to mean that dental implants won’t be a suitable option. Any patients currently undergoing radiation therapy wouldn’t be eligible for dental implants due to the impact on proper implant integration.

Understanding Dental Implants and Your Medical Conditions

While these conditions can all affect your likelihood of being found suitable for dental implants, every case is unique. Likewise, other conditions or specific medical situations could also affect your dental implant treatment plan. To find out for sure, you will need to consult with a qualified oral surgeon.

OKC-OMS can provide dental implants for a wide range of situations. If you want to learn more about the process leading up to dental implants and the potential preparatory measures required, you can read more about bone grafts and when they are necessary on our blog.