Dental Implants and Age Restrictions

By Dr. Damon on November 16, 2018

Three dental implants on plain teal surfaceIf you are missing one or more teeth, you may be considering dental implants as a replacement option. Currently, implants are considered the most successful, long-lasting tooth replacement option available. But how old do you have to be to get dental implants?

Here, our Fort Worth, TX team discusses dental implants and age restrictions and explains what patients can expect throughout treatment.

A Brief Look at Dental Implants

Dental implants replace the roots of the teeth, and they are the only restorative option to do so. These small, threaded posts are inserted into the jawbone during a surgical procedure.

Most implants are fabricated from medical-grade titanium, although there are zirconia options available as well.

Typically, once placed in the jaw, implants must heal for a few months before the restoration can be connected. Dental implants are versatile, and can be restored with crowns, bridges, or dentures.

Dental Implants and Bone Density

For implants to be successful long-term, they should be completely embedded in dense bone tissue. This not only means the jawbone should be healthy, but it should also be mature. Therefore, there are certain age restrictions for dental implants.

Dental Implants for Young Patients

In young people, bone growth and development continues until the late teenage years. While most females stop growing around the age of 17, most males are not fully developed until the age of 18. Therefore, we do not recommend dental implants in patients younger than this.

If you are under 18 and are missing one or more teeth, your dentist can make a partial denture or bond artificial teeth into place temporarily. This will fill in the gaps in your smile and hold space until you are eligible for dental implants.

Dental Implants for Adults and Seniors

There is no upper age limit for dental implants. The key element to dental implant candidacy is the absence of any health conditions that would make surgery a risk and good bone quality.

There are a couple of reasons why bone loss may occur in older individuals:

  • Tooth loss: One of the most common byproducts of tooth loss is bone atrophy. When the tooth roots are no longer there to stimulate the jawbone, it begins to slowly shrink away. This is why so many long-time denture wearers have a gaunt or hollowed appearance, because the jawbone no longer supports the facial features.
  • Periodontal disease: Gum disease can take its toll on your overall oral health. This infection begins in the gums, and slowly moves down into the bone tissue over time. As a result, the infection erodes the bone around the teeth, compromising density and volume.

Can I Increase My Eligibility for Dental Implants?

If you are an adult who is suffering from periodontal disease or bone loss, there are ways to improve your implant candidacy.

For example, patients with bone loss can rebuild their jawbone and improve density with a bone grafting procedure.

Individuals who have gum disease can undergo periodontal therapy to eliminate infection and restore health.

Contact Texas Dental Center Today

If you would like to learn more about options in dental implantology, schedule a visit at the Texas Dental Center. Give us a call at (972) 808-6008 or contact us online.

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