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Dental Implants: Are They for Me?

By Thomas D. Taylor, D.D.S., M.S.D., and William R. Laney, D.M.D., M.S.

Who Should Not Have Dental Implants?

If you have any of the following conditions, dental implant therapy may not be for you.

Crippling or Uncontrolled Disease
Conditions that affect the body's ability to heal and repair itself may have a negative effect on the placement and health of an implant. Persons with diseases (such as diabetes) that are not under control are not good candidates for dental implants because the uncontrolled disease keeps the body from healing itself normally. However, a diabetic person under proper control by a doctor could be treated successfully with implants.

Other diseases such as leukemia or hyperparathyroidism (abnormal activity of the parathyroid glands) also may affect the outcome of implant treatment. Persons who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer should not have treatment procedures that are advantageous but not urgent such as dental implants) until cancer treatment is completed and the doctor says it is safe to proceed. If you have any questions about how your general health might affect dental implants in your mouth, you and your dentist should discuss this with your doctor.

Women who are pregnant should not undergo any treatment such as dental implants until after the first three months of their pregnancy. It is best to wait until after delivery to start dental implant treatment.

Psychiatric or Emotional Treatment
People with psychiatric disorders such as chronic depression or personality changes requiring treatment, or people undergoing severe emotional stress, should avoid situations that may complicate or disturb their lives. Dental implant therapy may place additional stress on persons who are unable to tolerate it. As with other diseases, open discussion of the problem should involve the patient, dentist, and doctor before implant treatment is considered.

Poor Motivation to Accept and Follow Needed Treatment
For dental implants to be successful, you must be committed to following all the necessary steps before, during, and long after treatment.  People who are not able or willing to undergo the necessary treatment, or to take care of their new teeth on a regular basis, should not consider implant therapy.

Lack of Muscular Coordination to Manage Oral Hygiene Procedures
To keep the bone and gums around dental implants healthy, you must carefully clean the implants. This means that you must be able to handle a toothbrush, dental floss, or other cleaning tools to remove food and plaque.  Persons with severe arthritis or other handicaps that affect the hands and arms may not be good candidates for implant treatment.

All material is copyrighted by Quintessence Publishing Co., Inc. and reproduced with permission.