Is There an Age Limit for Dental Implants?
As we get older, we can become increasingly accepting of health issues. However, missing and damaged teeth shouldn’t be something we accept, whatever our age. Nor should we accept the fate of ill-fitting dentures as the only solution to the problem. The truth is that dental implants are just as successful for older patients as younger ones. And, not only are they suitable for all ages, but they can make us more youthful, maintaining our bone structure and restoring our facial aesthetics.
What Causes You to Lose Your Teeth?
Unfortunately, while we’d like to think we’d have our oral hygiene routine perfected by our later years, there are other forces at work which make us more susceptible to tooth loss. Modern medicine is helping us live longer than ever before. However, as life expectancy goes up, our teeth have to bear more strain. As we get older, our teeth become less sensitive, the nerves in our teeth become smaller, and gum disease can easily go undetected. We are also more likely to get cavities, not because of poor oral care habits, but because of medications that we have to take for other conditions. Many medications cause dry mouth, which creates the perfect environment for bacteria. If cavities and gum disease get to work, and especially if they go unnoticed, tooth loss is an increasingly likely outcome.
Which is Better Dentures or Dental Implants?
When we think of treatments for missing teeth, we often think of a set of removable dentures sitting in a glass beside the bed. And, it’s true that in the past they were the most common solution for missing teeth. However, while they still provide a practical solution, they have a lot of downfalls. Dental implants, on the other hand, offer several advantages over their removable counterparts:
- Can replace single teeth – whether you have several missing teeth or just one, dental implants enable you to fill the gap and restore your smile.
- Don’t slip – dentures can be embarrassing when they slip, dental implants, on the other hand, let you eat, talk and smile with confidence.
- Perform like natural teeth – with your replacement teeth firmly in place, you can eat the foods you love, get better nutrition and lead a healthier lifestyle.
- Are more comfortable – as well as the embarrassment of ill-fitting dentures comes the discomfort, dental implants don’t cause irritation and feel like natural teeth.
- Preserve facial contours – implants fuse with the jawbone and encourage new growth; this helps to preserve the natural shape of the jaw and restore your smile.
Quality of life is important to us all and something to be cherished in our later years. There is little point limiting what we can do with an inferior treatment option. Dental implants can help us to socialise freely, eat what we want and live life to the full.
Is Everyone Suitable For Dental Implants?
While dental implants are a successful treatment option for missing teeth, whatever your age, there are certain instances when they might not be suitable. To find out, you’ll need to speak with your dentist. However, you might want to bear the following factors in mind:
- Medical conditions – conditions like diabetes can cause the body to reject dental implants, and the longer healing process can create further risk of infection.
- Smoking – smoking lowers the success rate of dental implant treatments as it restricts the body’s ability to heal.
- Bone density – if teeth have been missing for many years, they may lack the necessary bone density needed for implants to take root.
While age isn’t in itself a factor that restricts dental implants, unfortunately, some of the conditions mentioned above are more likely as we age. However, they can happen in younger patients too. The only way to really know if dental implants are a suitable treatment option is to have a full evaluation with your dentist.
Why You’re Never Too Old for Dental Implants
The fact is, we are never too old for dental implants, but it does depend on our general health. We need to watch out for certain conditions, medications and ensure we have the required bone density to support the implants. However, if your dentist gives dental implants the green light, you will have a far superior long-term solution for missing teeth. Now that is really something to smile about.