Dental implants are the best tooth replacement option available. They look natural, function like natural teeth, require no special maintenance, and can last a lifetime.

If you are considering dental implants, you might wonder: when is the best time to get them? The answer: as soon as possible after losing your tooth or teeth.

Implants usually work best when placed at the time your natural teeth are extracted. If you have lost one or more teeth already, there are good reasons to replace them with dental implants as soon as you can.

older man holding up a large clock

Tooth Loss and Bone Loss

As we’ve talked about in the context of dentures, the bone in your jaw has a balanced relationship with your teeth. The bone supports the teeth, and the teeth in turn stimulate the jaw so that the body keeps supplying it with nutrients.

When the teeth are gone, the body begins to remove the bone from the jaw. This is a natural process and it always happens, though some things can speed it up, such as poorly fitting dentures. Bone loss can impact your profile, making you look older.

Dental Implants and Bone

Like your natural teeth, dental implants depend on your bone for support. So the less bone you have, the less ideal the situation for implants becomes. It’s best to get your dental implants at the same time as your natural teeth are extracted, when all the bone that supported your teeth is still in place. But even if you’ve had your teeth out for some time, the process of bone loss continues, so now is better than in the future.

But also like your natural teeth, dental implants stimulate and preserve your bone. They aren’t exactly the same as natural teeth, but they’re close, so that when an implant is placed, it helps you maintain bone that you would otherwise lose if you either didn’t replace the lost teeth or if you got dentures. This helps you maintain your youthful profile.

Why You Might Have to Wait

While it’s true that in most cases, it’s best to get dental implants right away, there are a few situations where you might have to wait.

The first reason is infection. If you have a tooth infection or gum infection that affects your jaw, we might want to treat the infection before placing a dental implant. In some cases, infection can cause the implant to fail, too. So we want to eliminate it before we place an implant.

Another reason is if you have already lost too much bone. Then we might have to do a bone graft to provide enough support for your implants. Sometimes, a bone graft can be done at the same time an implant is placed. Other times, it needs to be allowed to heal before the implant is placed.

Your overall condition might mean you have to wait, too. You might also have to wait if you’re too young for implants. We want to make sure your jaw has finished growing before we place implants. Or if you’re not healthy enough for surgery right now. We will assess your health before your implant procedure, and, if necessary, ask for an assessment from your doctor.

Considering Implants Now?

Are you considering dental implants in Columbia, SC and want to get them placed? Please call (803) 781-9090 today for an appointment with implant dentist Dr. Adam Hahn at Smile Columbia Dentistry.