|Am I Too Old for Dental Implants?
The idea that you might be too old for dental implants is a misconception. Age is not a determining factor when it comes to eligibility for dental implants. What truly matters is the presence of sufficient bone to support the implant. That being said, the only age restriction is that the patient must have a fully developed jawbone, and this usually doesn't occur until adulthood, so teenagers are not eligible for dental implants should they lose their permanent teeth for some reason. At Pacific Oral & Facial Surgery Center, our experienced dentist, Michael L. Beckley, DDS, is here to guide you through the dental implant process, so you can regain your winning smile.
Eligibility for Dental Implants
To assess your eligibility for dental implants, our dentist will typically conduct a CT scan. It's essential to avoid unnecessary delays when considering dental implants. In most cases, dental implants are a viable option, regardless of your age. However, it's worth noting that certain age-related health conditions might influence the success of the implant. Factors that can impact the implant's success rate include the duration since tooth loss and the amount of available bone. In some cases, you might need to consider procedures like bone grafting or augmentation to ensure a solid foundation for the implant.
There is no age limit beyond which you are ineligible for dental implants. In fact, many individuals in their 80s and beyond opt for dental implant surgery. Eligibility is assessed on a case-by-case basis, with the main considerations being your general health and ability to tolerate the surgical procedure. Another critical factor is the density of your jawbone, as there must be sufficient mass for secure implant anchoring. For individuals with insufficient bone mass, a bone augmentation procedure might be recommended, also determined on a case-by-case basis.
Smoking Can Affect Your Ability to Get Dental Implants
Interestingly, a candidate's history of smoking can have a more significant impact on the decision than their age. Individuals that smoke are at a higher risk of implant failure compared to non-smokers. Therefore, individuals who smoke and have experienced tooth loss are strongly advised to quit smoking before undergoing dental implant surgery, provided they are otherwise healthy candidates. Smoking greatly reduces your body's ability to heal from dental implant surgery.
Notably, gum disease is not only the leading cause of tooth loss but also the primary reason for dental implant failures. Unfortunately, age-related gum disease is becoming increasingly prevalent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 70 percent of individuals aged 65 and older have gum disease. However, gum disease is often treatable, helping to ensure the safety of your dental implants.
After tooth loss, your body begins to reabsorb bone, believing it is no longer necessary. The longer you've been without teeth, the less bone remains to support implants. While bone transplantation can strengthen your bone, it may prolong the process. For full-arch tooth replacements, alternatives such as the All-on-4® Treatment Concept can provide a bone graft-free solution.
Certain medications can increase the likelihood of implant failure or other complications. We will thoroughly review your medications with you, explaining any potential risks. Additionally, recent radiation therapy for head or neck cancer is another factor that can complicate dental implants. In such cases, we may recommend delaying implant placement or pursuing other treatment options.
You Are Never Too Old for Dental Implants
Dental health is essential at every stage of life, and age should not deter anyone from pursuing dental implants. Dental implants offer several advantages, regardless of age, including the preservation of bone density. We offer multiple tooth implants for several missing teeth and single tooth implants if you only need one tooth replacement. Unlike dentures, dental implants are firmly anchored in the jawbone. If you've lost teeth and are dissatisfied with your dentures, it's a good time to consult an oral surgeon about whether dental implants are the right solution for you.