Choosing to invest in dental implants is no minor decision. The procedure requires small surgeries, and the overall process can last months, requiring dedication to restoring oral health and a full smile. The results, however, are well worth the time and effort for most patients.Before deciding to commit, patients first need to understand the different…
Are There Age Restrictions for Dental Implants?
A missing tooth can lead to many cosmetic and health complications. Dental implants are an effective method for treating tooth loss and restoring a person's smile. They can prevent other issues from developing, including:
- Speech and digestive problems
- Damage to surrounding teeth
- Improper alignment
- Tooth and jaw pain
The results are typically permanent, and implants are often difficult to distinguish from natural teeth. Although dental implants offer many benefits, they are not right for everyone, especially those of a certain age.
Age recommendations for tooth loss treatment
It is important for patients of all ages to see a dentist on a routine basis and to seek prompt treatment for decay and dental injuries, including tooth loss. However, the methods used to treat these issues will differ between children and adults for many reasons. Children are less likely to tolerate invasive procedures well and are more likely to damage dental work. More importantly, some treatments could have a negative impact on a child's growth and development.
Much of a child's jawbone growth is complete during the middle to late adolescent years. For females, this occurs around age 16, but in males, it happens a little later, around age 18. However, jawbone growth and development can continue for 10 or more years in certain individuals. Placing an implant before jawbone development is complete could lead to problems down the road.
In younger children, a dental implant can impede proper bone growth and may prohibit other teeth from growing in correctly. This can result in the need for extensive dental work in the future and can even impact the overall shape and form of the face. In teens and young adults, this is less of a problem, especially if the permanent teeth have all erupted. However, changes to the jawbone could shift the position of the implant over time, leading to issues with appearance and bite pattern.
Dentists often recommend waiting for a dental implant until between the ages of 25 and 30. This will vary from person to person depending on the individual situation. Until then, patients can receive a partial denture or a dental bridge to replace their missing tooth.
When it comes to senior adults, age can be a very relative number. Whether or not an older patient is a good candidate for dental implants will have more to do with:
- How well they tolerate dental work
- Their oral and overall health
- Any preexisting medical conditions
Technically, there is no limit as to how old you can be to receive a dental implant. For many older patients, dental implants are a positive choice that improves dental health, limits bone loss, and boosts confidence. Still, it is important to discuss all of the options with your dentist to make the right choice.
Other requirements for dental implants
Age is not the only factor that should impact your decision to get a dental implant. There are many other things to consider before choosing this treatment route.
Surgery and recovery
Dental implants are an effective treatment for tooth loss that can last for decades. However, the process can be extensive and invasive. For many people, at least two surgeries are required to place the implant and the abutment. More may be necessary to perform any extractions or prep the jawbone for implant placement.
Recovery after each procedure can be painful, and it may take weeks before you feel back to normal. The overall timeline can last anywhere from six months to over a year.
People who smoke or do not practice good oral hygiene may not be good candidates for implants. These habits increase the risk of developing infections, which can lead to implant failure. They can also make it difficult for the area to heal properly and efficiently after surgery.
You should be in good health before having dental implants placed. Anything that could impair your ability to heal or fight an infection must be discussed with a dentist before receiving this type of treatment. This includes certain autoimmune diseases or medications. Dental implants may not be a good option for people with bruxism; consistent clenching or grinding of the teeth can damage the structures.
While implants are safe and effective for many dental patients, they are not recommended for children and many teenagers. Adults should have a fully developed jawbone before receiving a dental implant. Excellent health and an understanding of the implant procedure are also important for a favorable outcome.
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