Can You Be Too Old For Dental Implants?
Are there potential age restrictions for this popular tooth replacement method?
With access to good nutrition, health advice and advances in medical care, many of us are now living to be much older. It is thought that the number of centenarians is expected to continue increasing in the years to come.
This is excellent news, but it does bring its own challenges, some of them relevant to the dental profession. Living longer means that a patient’s teeth will have suffered more wear and tear and, possibly, long term effects of gum disease. Tooth loss occurs more frequently in older patients, and whilst dentures have long been a standard tooth replacement method, dental implants are now recognised as offering a better solution for the majority of people. One key reason is that, for older people especially, they enable a much more varied diet to be eaten which can contribute to good health as well as general well-being.
Implant factors for older patients
In theory, there are relatively few restrictions to the age of a patient when it comes to dental implant placement. At Blue Sky Dental, we have placed implants successfully for many older patients. This does not mean that there are no potential challenges though, and any people who are more advanced in years and looking for dental implants in Essex need to be aware of this in order to make an informed decision. We are always happy to discuss these issues with the patient, or their carer, where appropriate. The good news is, that, in most cases, such issues can be addressed and most patients will have a successful outcome.
Bone loss – This is one of the major concerns in older people. As you may know, if you have read our previous blogs, a successful dental implant placement relies on the fusing of implant and bone. Where bone in the jaw has lost density or mass, this could mean that the implant would not be held firmly enough in place and could be lost.
The use of scans and x-rays at our high-tech Chelmsford dentists means that we are able to gain an accurate picture of your bone structure and will be able to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for instant implant placement. Where bone loss is shown to have occurred, we will discuss the option of having a prior bone graft which builds up the bone and allows an implant to be placed successfully.
Gum Disease – Due to the fact that some older people have a dry mouth, gum disease is more common. In its advanced stage (periodontitis), this can attack the bone, and, as seen above, may threaten the security of the implant. Any gum disease would certainly need to be treated before a dental implant could be placed and we would also need to discuss ongoing oral health care with you too.
General health – Whilst we are living a lot longer than we used to do, we also often do so with a variety of illnesses. Whilst dental implants can be placed for most patients, it is important that we are fully aware of any illness you have. It is also important that you discuss your wish for dental implants with your doctor too.
We are always pleased to see patients of all ages – young or old. If you are advancing in years and would like to discuss the possibility of dental implant placement with us, please call our Chelmsford implant team on 01245 211070.