Am I too old for dental implants? Is there any age limit for having dental implant treatment ? Due to medical advancements the average population is living longer and meaning that more people may experience the need for long term permanent fixed teeth. In the past removable dentures have been a choice for tooth replacement however these are usually associated with discomfort and generally an inability to function properly. What’s more removable dentures do not accommodate changes in the jawbone, which occur when natural teeth are lost.
When we lose our natural teeth, bone resorbs or in other words shrinks. This happens most soon after the tooth or teeth are removed. After about 1 year the bone changes continue to occur are less but still continue gradually over time. The gum tissues which cover bone and are usually the base on which dentures sit are therefore only accurate soon after a removable denture is made. As bone changes with time so do the gum tissues which cover the jaw bone. This means that removable dentures are not very accurate even after a few months after they are originally made.
The good news is that dental implants can actually stimulate bone growth. The reason for this is that dental implants are placed into the jaw bone and hence provide some stimulus (during chewing and function) to the jaw bone. So the good news is that your jaw bone will not resorb as much if you have dental implants as opposed to full or partial dentures.
In our Clinic we have placed dental implants in patients over 90 years of age and there has been little difference in healing times or recuperation. What’s more is the improvement in patients quality of life has been positively significant. Patients are able to eat healthier foods like raw vegetables, nuts and generally more nutritious foods when there is better chewing ability.
When dental implants are placed the procedure usually requires a number of visits. The implant is usually placed during a small operation, which may be carried out under local anesthetic or intravenous sedation. The implant treatment plan may be carried out in several ways. In certain cases implant placement with immediate function is preferred as this allows the implants to be placed and provisional teeth placed onto the implants in usually a one-stage procedure. The procedure is not possible in all cases as it depends on several factors including general bone volume and density. Having dental implants with immediate function can actually improve bone healing as recent research has shown.
It is important to always undergo a thorough examination prior to dental implant treatment. Your implant dentist will ensure that you are both medically and dentally fit before you are able to have dental implant treatment.