Dental implants are used to minimize the negative effects of tooth loss. Unlike other artificial teeth, dental implants mimic the outer structure of an entire natural tooth. For instance, the implant, which is a titanium screw, is embedded into the jawbone of the patient-- just as a natural root is. This allows the implant to offer a level of stable support that is unmatched by other tooth replacement devices. The implant is topped by a dental crown that is connected to the surgically implanted screw by an abutment.

Still, a dental implant takes time to heal. The screw eventually fuses with the jawbone through a healing process called osseointegration. This connecting occurs over a period of months, and if it does not occur properly, the implant could fail. Here are some things you can do to help ensure your dental implant is successful:

Stop Smoking

Smoking can hinder the healing process of your implant. The unhealthy practice can minimize oxygen levels that are necessary for gums and connective tissue to heal. In addition, blood flow to a wound may be compromised in the body of a smoker.

The tissue irritation that occurs when soft tissues are exposed to tobacco smoke could also make a smoker more prone to infection after his or her implant is installed.

Don't Drink Heavily

Heavy consumption of alcohol can also slow healing by causing excessive bleeding at the wound site. In addition, alcohol can interfere with the effectiveness of pain medication and prescribed antibiotics.  

Some pain medicines may even become dangerous when paired with alcohol. Likewise, antibiotics that help prevent an overgrowth of bacteria may not work is well, so the wound of a heavy drinker may become more susceptible to infection.

Maintain Stable Blood Sugar

Diabetics are not automatically poor candidates for a dental implant. However, it is important for people with diabetes to maintain stable blood sugar before, during and after dental implant surgery.

Diabetics with poor control over their blood sugar may be at higher risk of infection, slowed wound healing and subsequently, implant failure.

It is best to follow a physician's advice concerning medication, diet and exercise to maintain stable blood sugar and avoid possible problems.

If you have a missing tooth and are considering a dental implant, talk with your dentist about any systemic health problems. He or she will be able to evaluate your situation and determine whether or not an implant is the best choice for you. For more information, contact a company like Tijeras Dental Service.