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Dental implants: Is there an age limit?


Posted on 10/20/2011 by Dr. Franco
Old man with coffee smiling with dental implants in Irving,TXMore and more people are visiting their Irving TX implant dentist to replace their missing teeth. With all of their advantages, dental implants appeal to a wide variety of patients of all ages.

Because such a diverse population is interested in dental implants, some prospective patients express concern that their age will disqualify them as candidates. Fortunately, there are few age restrictions on dental implants.

The main concern of the implant dentist is that sufficient bone is available to support the implant. The process of osseointegration, in which the titanium implant fuses with the bone, is essential to the implant’s long-term durability.

That’s good news for patients who worry that they are too old for this tooth replacement method. As long as there is no significant bone loss, adults of any age will typically qualify for the devices. Although people may lose bone as they age, that’s more a function of missing tooth roots whose absence allow the jaw bone to recede. If a missing tooth is replaced by a dental implant shortly after it is lost, the likelihood of bone resorption is drastically reduced.

At the other end of the spectrum, however, an implant dentist will not place dental implants in a jaw that is still growing. The dental implant could shift as the jaw continues to develop. As a result, children and teens may not qualify for dental implants, unless they are a component of a coordinated orthodontic treatment plan.

Additional factors that have little to do with age may influence the likelihood that implants will be successful. Patients with untreated periodontal disease will not be able to have implants placed until that condition in under control. Smokers are strongly urged to give up the habit prior to getting implants. Although smoking doesn’t necessarily contraindicate dental implants, it can lead to a host of problems that may jeopardize the implant.

Older patients who are interested in dental implants should not be concerned that their age will be a negative factor. Consult with our implant dentistry team to see if implants are appropriate in your case.

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PEDRO F. FRANCO, DDS
HOWARD B. PRICE, DDS

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