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Am I Too Old for Dental Implants?

Every individual at every stage of life deserves to have good oral health. Unfortunately, millions have missing teeth. Edentulism affects quality of life as well as oral health and overall wellness. Dental implants have long been considered a superior treatment option for edentulism compared to dentures. Unlike dentures, dental implants are securely anchored into the jawbone, which allows them to preserve the bone density. If you have missing teeth and you’re dissatisfied with dentures, it’s time to speak with an oral surgeon about whether dental implants might be right for you.

Getting dental implants later in life

There is no threshold at which an individual might be considered too old for dental implants. Many people undergo the procedure well into their 80s and beyond. Whether or not a person is a good candidate is decided on a case-by-case basis. The primary factor is whether a person is in good overall health, and can withstand surgery. The oral surgeon will need to evaluate the patient’s medical history, including the following factors:

  • Underlying medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis
  • Medications and supplements
  • History of surgical procedures
  • History of reactions to anesthesia

Another major factor to consider is the density of the jawbone. There must be sufficient jawbone mass in order to successfully anchor the implants. Some patients with insufficient bone may be good candidates for a bone augmentation procedure. This would also be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Lastly, a person’s smoking history may be more influential in determining candidacy than that person’s age. Smokers have a substantially higher risk of implant failure than non-smokers. Patients with tooth loss who also smoke are strongly encouraged to quit smoking before undergoing dental implant surgery, assuming that they are otherwise good candidates for it.

Getting dental implants early in life

Tooth loss is often considered to be a condition of advanced age. However, it can occur at any age from causes such as traumatic injuries (sports, motor vehicle accidents, etc.), periodontal disease, and poor oral hygiene. Younger patients may make excellent candidates for dental implants. In some cases, however, they may be informed that they need to wait a few years.

The jawbone typically finishes development between the ages of 17 and 20. Oral surgeons will only place dental implants in a fully developed jawbone. Otherwise, there is an increased risk of implant failure, periodontal problems, bite pattern problems, and undesirable aesthetic issues. These complications can occur because the implant cannot shift as the jaw grows and develops. The oral surgeon can evaluate x-rays to determine if a patient’s jawbone is developed enough to allow dental implant placement. If the patient does need to wait, there are a variety of temporary options.

Get the personalized dental care you deserve in Bucks and Montgomery Counties

Innovative Implant and Oral Surgery is a unique practice where compassion and courtesy blend with state-of-the-art medical technology and surgical expertise. Thanks to the advanced knowledge and technical skills of our surgeons, we’re often able to successfully place implants in patients who have previously been told they weren’t good candidates. It’s our mission to give you the healthy, beautiful smile that everyone deserves. Call our office in Bucks County at 215-322-7810 to request a consultation.