How does age affect dental implants?

Some older patients incorrectly presume that they are not eligible for dental implants to replace missing teeth. While age is a factor in determining whether or not a patient is a good candidate, it’s only one part of the equation.

As long as you in good health and have sufficient jawbone to accept the implants, there is no upper age limit. Here are some ways that age may come into play during the evaluation process.

You lost a tooth a long time ago

More than your current numerical age, the number of years that have passed since you originally lost your tooth or teeth will play a larger role in your candidacy for dental implants. When you lose a tooth, the jawbone around the missing root gradually deteriorates over time. If the bone is too thin, it won’t be stable enough to support an implant without a bone graft or ridge augmentation.

You’ve been a smoker for many years

Smoking and tobacco use are two indicators that can lead to a higher failure rate for dental implants. The longer you’ve been smoking, the more likely it is that this could cause a problem with implants.

Age-related disease

There is no data that supports a higher risk factor for dental implant failure due to age alone but there are certain diseases more common in older patients that can present challenges with dental implants.

Jawbone strength and development

Some people experience a natural weakening of the jawbone over time and others do not. This can be clarified after your oral surgeon examines your jawbone and takes x-rays to determine bone strength, size and regenerative capabilities.

Full arch alternatives

There are several solutions for replacing missing teeth or deteriorating teeth using dental implants. With a thorough evaluation with your oral surgeon, you may qualify for “Teeth in a Day” whereby teeth are extracted and implants are placed the same day along with insertion of the fixed bridge.