Who is Not a Good Candidate for Dental Implants? Key Factors to Consider

Written by Golden State Dentists
Last updated May 30, 2023
Who is Not a Good Candidate for Dental Implants - Golden State Dentists

Various circumstances and conditions can affect a person's eligibility for dental implants. So, who is not a good candidate for dental implants? Factors such as age, general health, and bone density play a crucial role in determining if a person is a suitable candidate for this procedure. Understanding these factors can help individuals and their dental professionals make informed decisions about whether dental implants are the right choice for their needs.



Who Are Ideal Candidates for Dental Implants? And Who is Not a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

Ideal candidates for dental implants are individuals with good overall dental health who have missing teeth or teeth that need extraction. These candidates need to have proper bone quality and quantity to securely anchor the implants, which can replace one or more natural teeth.

Although age can play a factor in determining candidate suitability, older people with missing or decayed teeth are generally suitable for dental implants. However, individuals 85 years and older may not be suitable candidates due to the higher prevalence of chronic illnesses in this age group, which could interfere with the healing process.

Contrarily, individuals under the age of 18 are generally not advised to undergo dental implant procedures as their bones have not yet stopped growing. Before considering dental implants, waiting for the bones to develop fully is best.

Pregnant individuals should also defer dental implant procedures until they have given birth. This is because pregnancy hormones and physical changes could impact the success of dental implants and healing processes.

Moreover, the dentist's skill level and comfort in performing the dental implant procedure can determine if a patient is a suitable candidate. Sometimes, a dentist may recommend against a dental implant if they believe the procedure is beyond their expertise or if the case is too severe.


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Who is Not a Good Candidate for Dental Implants Due to Medical Conditions That May Affect Implant Candidacy?


Uncontrolled Diabetes

People with uncontrolled diabetes may face challenges when it comes to dental implants, as their bodies may have a more challenging time healing from the procedure due to potential systemic infection in bones and gums. Successful implant placement relies on the body's ability to heal itself and integrate the implant into the surrounding bone tissue. Therefore, diabetic patients need to have their condition under control before undergoing implant surgery.


Individuals suffering from or with a history of cancer might also not be ideal candidates for dental implants. Cancer treatments (i.e., chemotherapy and radiation therapy) can affect the healing process and bone structure, making it difficult for the implant to properly integrate with the bone. Doctors usually recommend waiting until cancer treatments are complete and the patient's overall health has improved before considering dental implant surgery.

Blood Disorders

Patients with blood disorders, such as hemophilia or other clotting issues, may also face challenges with dental implant procedures. These conditions can lead to excessive bleeding and slow down the healing process, both of which are critical factors in the success of implant surgery. In some cases, managing the blood disorder with appropriate medication and medical supervision may allow for a successful implant surgery, but it is essential to address such issues beforehand.

Immunosuppressed Patients

Those with an impaired immune system, such as individuals undergoing organ transplants or who have autoimmune diseases, might not be good candidates for dental implants. An impaired immune system can make it harder for the body to heal from the implant surgery and to fight off potential infections. As with other medical conditions, immunosuppressed patients must consult their healthcare providers before implant surgery to determine the best course of action.


Who is Not a Good Candidate for Dental Implants Due to Oral Health Factors?


Insufficient Bone Density

One of the primary factors affecting the success of dental implants is the patient's bone density. Dental implants require a considerable amount of healthy jawbone to support the implant post and withstand the forces exerted during chewing. Individuals with insufficient bone density may not be suitable candidates for dental implants without undergoing bone grafting procedures to strengthen the jawbone.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, can negatively impact the success of dental implants. Patients with active periodontal disease often experience inflammation, bone loss, and other complications, compromising the implant's stability. Treating gum disease and maintaining good oral hygiene are essential before considering dental implant placement.

Severe Tooth Decay

Severe tooth decay can leave insufficient healthy tooth structure that may compromise the outcome of dental implants. Tooth decay may weaken surrounding teeth, making it challenging to support dental implants adequately. In this case, restoring the decayed teeth with traditional dental treatments like crowns, bridges, or fillings may be necessary before considering dental implant therapy.


Bruxism, or teeth grinding and clenching, can place excessive pressure on dental implants, potentially leading to implant failure. Patients with a history of bruxism should discuss this with their dentist to determine if dental implants are a suitable option. Management of bruxism, which may include wearing a night guard, stress reduction techniques, or orthodontic therapy, should be addressed before undertaking dental implant treatment.


Who is Not a Good Candidate for Dental Implants Due to Lifestyle and Habits?


Tobacco Use

Individuals who smoke or use tobacco products may not be ideal candidates for dental implants. Tobacco use can negatively affect the healing process and increase the risk of infection, leading to implant failure. According to Healthline, those who smoke may not be suitable for dental implants due to the increased risk of complications.

Poor Oral Hygiene Practices

Practicing good oral hygiene is crucial for the success of dental implants. Patients who neglect their oral hygiene, such as not brushing and flossing regularly or skipping dental checkups, may not be good candidates for dental implants. As mentioned on Dentistry.com, individuals who are not committed to maintaining good oral hygiene might be vulnerable to infections and other issues during the healing process.

Good oral hygiene practices include:

Heavy Alcohol Consumption

Heavy alcohol consumption can also impact the success of dental implants. Alcohol can impede the healing process and affect the stability of the implant. Patients need to discuss their alcohol consumption with their dentist to determine if they are suitable candidates.


Who is Not a Good Candidate for Dental Implants Due to Age-Related Considerations?

Determining the suitability of dental implants for a patient depends on various factors, including age-related considerations. The following sub-sections briefly overview young and elderly patients' specific age-related concerns.


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Young Patients with Developing Jaws

For patients under the age of 18, dental implants are generally not advised, as their jawbones are still developing. Implants require a stable and fully formed jawbone for successful integration and long-term success. Placing implants in a young patient's mouth could potentially interfere with their jaw growth and lead to later complications. 

Additionally, a prematurely placed dental implant might require additional treatments as the patient continues to grow and their surrounding teeth shift.

Due to these concerns, dentists often recommend waiting until young patients' jawbones are fully developed before considering dental implants. Alternative tooth replacement options, such as removable partial dentures, may be suggested in the meantime for young patients who have lost a tooth due to trauma, infection, or other dental issues.

Elderly Patients with Deteriorating Oral Health

When it comes to elderly patients, dental implant suitability depends on the individual's overall oral health and specific health conditions. Some older patients may experience additional risks related to dental implants, such as a slower healing process and an increased risk of implant failure. According to a 2020 study, older individuals should carefully weigh dental implants' benefits and potential risks.

Factors that could make dental implants less suitable for elderly patients include uncontrolled diabetes, blood clotting disorders, heavy smoking, and ongoing cancer treatment, among other health conditions. An experienced dentist will carefully evaluate an elderly patient's medical history, bone density, and overall oral health before determining whether dental implants are a viable option.


Alternatives to Dental Implants for Someone Who is Not a Good Candidate for Dental Implants

While dental implants can be a life-changing treatment for those with missing teeth, not everyone qualifies for this procedure. Fortunately, several alternatives are available for someone who is not a good candidate for dental implants.



Conventional “plate” style dentures remain an excellent choice for individuals who may not be suited for dental implant treatment or prefer not to commit to the financial investment. Dentures can replace teeth on a full or partial basis and are custom-made to comfortably fit the patient's mouth. It is essential to note that dentures require occasional adjustments, relines, and replacements as the acrylic wears out over time.

Some of the advantages of dentures include the following:

    • Affordability compared to dental implants
    • Non-invasive procedure
    • Can be adjusted or replaced as needed


A dental bridge is another alternative to dental implants consisting of one or more artificial teeth anchored to the remaining natural teeth. These bridges can be constructed from various materials, including porcelain, ceramic, or a combination of metal and ceramic. Bridges require less complex procedures and are typically more affordable than dental implants but may need replacement after several years.

Some benefits of dental bridges are:

    • Supporting remaining natural teeth
    • Promoting overall oral health
    • Restoring function and aesthetics

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are a viable option for patients with a few missing teeth. These dentures consist of an acrylic or metal base with artificial teeth attached, secured in place with clasps or precision attachments that connect to neighboring teeth. Partial dentures are able to be removed for daily cleaning and ongoing maintenance and can be adjusted to accommodate changes in the mouth over time.

Partial dentures offer the following benefits:

    • Replacing several missing teeth at once
    • Helping to maintain the position of remaining natural teeth
    • Ease of maintenance and cleaning


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Understanding the Risks and Weighing the Options for Someone Who is Not a Good Candidate for Dental Implants

When considering dental implants, it is important to understand the potential risks and evaluate the benefits to make an informed decision. While dental implants are a highly successful and commonly performed procedure, they may not be suitable for everyone. Who is not a good candidate for dental implants?

Some individuals may face increased risks of complications and implant failure. For example, people with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, might have a higher chance of encountering issues during the healing process or post-surgery complications. This is primarily due to their prolonged healing times.

In addition to medical conditions, other factors may affect the success of dental implants. According to the Mayo Clinic, rare risks associated with implant surgery include infection at the implant site, and injury or damage to surrounding structures, such as other teeth or blood vessels. Discussing these potential risks with your dental professional is crucial to determine if dental implants are the right option for you.

To further assess suitability, potential candidates should consider the following factors:

  • Adequate jawbone density: Dental implants require adequate jawbone density to support the implant and ensure long-term stability.
  • Good oral hygiene: Proper oral care is essential for the long-term success of dental implants. Candidates must commit to maintaining good dental hygiene habits.
  • Nonsmokers: Smoking increases the risk of complications and implant failure. Patients are recommended to quit smoking before undergoing dental implant surgery.

Remember, each individual is unique, and the decision to undergo dental implant surgery should be based on careful consideration of one's specific situation and medical history. So, who is a good candidate versus who is not a good candidate for dental implants? Consult your dental professional to discuss your options, including potential benefits versus risks. Then, make a decision that benefits your oral health.


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