When Is It Too Late to Get Dental Implants?

by | Jun 30, 2021 | Implants, Oral Surgery

If you have never replaced a lost tooth or have been using dentures for many years, you may be considering dental implants as a more permanent option. The good news is that dental implants are a viable option for most people, with only a few rare exceptions. If you have enough bone around your missing tooth to insert the dental implant, you can easily get it inserted with no issues.

 

Dental implants years after tooth extraction

Being a candidate for dental implant surgery does not really factor into account when the tooth was extracted but rather looks at overall oral health. However, one factor that matters is the amount of time you have been without a tooth in place. This can affect the quality of your jawbone because when a root is not stimulating the underlying bone, the bone begins to deteriorate. Over time, the bone may collapse inward, slowly shrinking every day.

In the end, if you don’t have enough bone mass in the jaw, the implants won’t have anything to hold on to, rendering them ineffective. However, you don’t have to lose hope even if this is the case.

Your dentist can do a bone grafting procedure before the dental implant surgery to help with this. Ideally, the best way to know if you can get a dental implant or not is to schedule a consultation with a dentist. Also, even if you have been wearing removable dentures for a while, you can still opt for the dental implants procedure.

 

Is age a factor?

Usually, we don’t have to look at age as a factor for dental implants as it is considered quite safe. However, there are a few instances where your age will determine whether or not you should go ahead with the procedure:

  1. If the patient is too young, they may not have reached skeletal maturity just yet, meaning that the jawbone is not fully developed yet. Therefore, the best time would be after a child has turned at least 17, though this is not a set number.
  2. Certain diseases can affect dental implants that occur due to old age. Some of these include:
  • Diabetes – Those with diabetes will usually require special pre and post-implant care to ensure that there are no complications because of the dental implants. If you have had diabetes for a long time, then you will be more prone to infections, and your healing process will be much slower.
  • Osteoporosis – As people grow older, the chances of this bone disease that causes brittle bones and bone loss can occur. Usually, older people tend to have lost at least one tooth by this point and think that dental implants are not a solution for them because of this. However, even those with this disease are still viable candidates for dental implants.

 

Are you too late for a dental implant?

There really aren’t any set age limits or time durations that tell you that you are too late to get those dental implants you need. As we mentioned, there are certain exceptions to this, so let’s get into who can get implants and who would be better off without them.

 

Who are the good candidates?

Most people tend to be good candidates for a dental implant procedure. Below are some characteristics of good candidates. If you fall into any of them, you should be okay to get those implants.

  • Those with enough bone structure and size: When a dental implant is inserted, it needs to be lodged into your jawbone to secure it in place. If there isn’t enough bone or if the bone has become too soft, the implant will not be able to support itself for long. A simple consultation will tell you if you have enough bone or not.
  • Those with healthy gums and oral health: Your gums will be partly responsible for providing support to the new implant. Therefore, if your gum is weak or you have some form of gum disease, such as periodontal disease, it can become a problem for the implant. Your first order of business would be to fix these problems before moving on to the implants.
  • Those willing to fully commit to the procedure: Once the implants are in place, you need to take care of the implant on a daily basis. This means taking care of your dental hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly afterward. If you tend to have good dental hygiene practices, this shouldn’t be a problem.

 

Who are not the ideal candidates?

  • Those with a bad bone structure. If you don’t have enough bone in the area or are too young to have developed them fully, then the implants will usually be a bad idea.
  • Those who are taking certain medications. There are certain medicines that can cause implant failure, such as steroids and drugs that suppress the immune system functions.
  • Those who drink or smoke all the time. Both smoking and drinking cause detrimental problems inside your mouth. It affects the healing rate, thus reducing the success rate of dental implants. You should consider quitting these habits if you want to go ahead with the procedure.
  • Those with serious underlying disease. If you are already suffering from a disease, then this can affect dental implant treatment. Not all major problems will affect the treatment, but some include cancer, certain gum diseases, and uncontrolled diabetes.

 

Should you get dental implants?

Typically, the short answer would be yes. Most people will be able to get their dental implants. However, if you have been wearing dentures for a long time or have been many years since you had a tooth extracted, you should first consult with a dentist to ensure it is safe.

Remember, you are never too old to get implants and take care of your oral health. However, since there could be underlying problems, you may want to get yourself checked first before deciding to go ahead with the procedure.

Laguna Vista Dental can help you decide whether a dental implant is safe to do, complete any oral surgery that you may need, and then finish off the implant procedure as well, leaving you with a fantastic smile in the end. Visit us online to book your appointment or directly calling us at (916) 684-3105.

Krystle Fenton

Krystle Fenton

Krystle Fenton is the owner and lead dentist at Laguna Vista Dental in Elk Grove, CA. Dr. She has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Andrews University. She then went on to Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, where she graduated with honors and is a member of the prestigious Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) National Dental Honor Society. Dr. Fenton is a member of the American Dental Association, California Dental Association, and Sacramento District Dental Society. In her time away from the office, Dr. Fenton enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, spending time outdoors and watching movies.

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