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How Patient Age Can Affect Eligibility for Dental Implants

By Dr. Dan Whiting on July 25, 2016

An implant-supported dental crownHere at Smiles For Life, we work hard to give the people of Harrisonburg beautiful and healthy smiles. When our patients are missing teeth, we sometimes recommend dental implants to support bridges and dentures. The results are excellent, and there are cosmetic and dental health benefits to having dental implants placed.

While implant dentistry can work wonders, it's not for everyone. Let's get into the basics of dental implants right now and then consider how patient age can affect candidacy.

About Dental Implants

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically embedded into the jawbone and gum tissue of a person's mouth. These artificial tooth roots are able to support dental bridges, partial dentures, full dentures, and even individual dental crowns.

The best part about dental implants is that they are able to stabilize dental appliances with the same strength as natural tooth roots. Like natural tooth roots, the dental implants will also prevent gum recession and bone loss from occurring.

Age and Oral Surgery: What to Consider

Dental implants are a great option for many patients, but age can play a factor for candidacy. In fact, some patients who are missing teeth may not be ideal candidates for dental implants solely because of age.

Keep in mind that age is just one of many factors related to dental implant candidacy, and a full assessment and consultation will be required at our practice to find out if they are right for you.

Is There a Minimum Age for Getting Dental Implants?

In general, it's best for patients to be at least 18 years old to get dental implants. The reason for this has everything to do with the way people age and mature. Young people's bones are still growing and developing. Changes in the jawbone and facial structure can occur into the mid-twenties. Placing dental implants too early may necessitate a secondary or corrective surgery later in life.

It's important to note that 18 is not a set age. Each patient is different and matures at a different rate. If you are young and interested in getting dental implants, it may be necessary to wait until you have fully matured and developed before they are placed. A removable bridge may be more ideal until later in life.

Are the Elderly Able to Get Dental Implants?

Yes. In fact, many elderly patients in their 70s, 80s, and 90s are able to get dental implants placed with excellent results.

That said, this depends entirely on the health and wellness of the patient in advanced age. Some patients who are elderly may not be ideal candidates for dental implants because an oral surgery procedure may pose a health risk. The use of removable appliances would be better in those cases.

As with patients being too young for dental implants, this needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Discussing Candidacy During the Consultation Process

As you have learned, candidacy for dental implants is really about the patient and his or her health concerns at a given point of time rather than age per se. That being the case, it's important that you come in for a consultation to learn more about dental implants and if they're right for you.

Learn More About Dental Implants

To learn more about dental implants and how they can help you have a healthy and beautiful smile, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team at Smiles For Life is here to help you have the best smile possible.

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