Dental implants are the best tooth replacement option available. They are the only option that actually mimics the structure of your natural teeth, with a tooth root that is anchored in the jawbone and an attractive crown on top. They can also be used to anchor dentures so that you can talk, chew, and smile with full confidence.
But if you lose a tooth at an advanced age, you may worry that you are too old for dental implants. Let us put that fear to rest right now: you’re never too old for dental implants. As long as you are healthy enough for surgery, you can get dental implants.
Dental Implants Successful for Elderly Patients
There are many potential reasons why dental implants might not be as successful for elderly patients as they are for younger patients. Osteoporosis, for example, can degrade the quality of bones in the jaw, making it harder for the dental implant to integrate and hold. Gum disease risk can increase with age, and gum disease can attack dental implants the way it attacks natural teeth.
But evidence shows that despite these concerns, dental implants are just as successful in elderly patients as in younger ones. For example, a 2004 study reviewed success rates after five years for dental implants in patients that were over 80 and those that were under 80. They found that the two groups had basically the same success rates. patients over 80 had success rates for implants of 93.0% and 99.5% in the upper and lower jaws, respectively, compared to 92.6% and 99.7% for younger patients.
A 2011 study of dental implants in elderly patients showed about the same survival rates after five years, 93.9% in the upper jaw and 99.3% in the lower jaw.
There are many reports of patients who successfully get dental implants in their 90s. There is no reason why people of this age should not consider dental implants.
Can You Get Dental Implants?
More important than your age is your actual health. In deciding whether you should get dental implants, we always consider your:
- General health
- Oral health
- Bone health
Talk to your doctor about surgery and whether there are any concerns for you. Dental implant surgery can be performed using a number of different anesthesia and sedation options, so we can pick the one that will be safest for you.
Oral health is another important factor. We’ll determine whether you have gum disease and whether that will threaten your dental implants. We’ll also talk to you about your ability to perform oral hygiene (for example, does arthritis make it hard for you to brush or floss your teeth?) to determine whether your oral health will continue to be good or might decline in the future–and we’ll give you tips to help you take care of your dental implants.
Finally, we need to make sure that your bones are in good shape for supporting dental implants. Tell us about any experiences you’ve had recently that can show us your bone health (for example, how did recovery from a recent hip replacement surgery go? Did you heal well after a recent fracture? etc.) Then we’ll have a good idea about what your dental implant experience will be like.