Can Someone Be Too Young or Too Old for Dental Implants?
Dental implants are the best possible treatment option for missing teeth. However, not all patients are good candidates for the procedure. One factor that can preclude patients from being a good dental implant candidate is their age. At the practice of Andrew G. Mortensen D.D.S. in Fountain Valley, CA, we can help patients understand who is at the right age for dental implants.
Dental Implants and Young Patients
Although it is less common for younger patients to have missing teeth, it does happen. Some people are simply born with certain adult teeth missing or sporting injuries, falls, or other accidents can result in the loss of adult teeth.
Unfortunately, if you are under the age of 18, you are not considered a good candidate for dental implants. This is because the jawbone is still growing and developing at this age - and possibly a few years beyond the age of 18. The reason this is a concern is because dental implants are placed within the jawbone. If the jawbone changes in shape after dental implants are placed, it could decrease their stability within the mouth.
That said, you can plan to get dental implants in the future. A dentist can determine when your jaw is fully grown and you are ready for dental implants. In addition, dentists can design a placeholder for your future restoration. In many cases, a retainer-like device can be made with a natural looking tooth (or teeth) attached to it. When the device is worn, it appears that the patient has a full set of teeth. When the patient is ready they can have implants placed, and a custom dental crown, bridge, or dentures can be added to replace missing teeth.
Dental Implants and Older Patients
There is no upper age limit for dental implant patients. However, there are a range of other factors that our Fountain Valley dentists will look at before approving you for the procedure.
For example, you will need to have sufficient jawbone to support the dental implants. Older patients are more likely to have some jawbone recession, especially if they have had missing teeth for a long period of time. Patients can undergo a bone graft procedure before having dental implants placed, but this will add to the cost and length of time it takes to complete treatment.
In addition, the placement of dental implants is an oral surgery procedure. Patients in poor health may not be good candidates for this treatment. In these cases, we can fit you with a comfortable and secure traditional denture or dental bridge to replace your missing teeth.
Finally, smoking can decrease the success rate of dental implants. Smoking can affect your healing rate after surgery, and it can increase the risk of dental problems like gum disease. If you are a smoker, dental implants may not be right for you.
Contact Our Practice
To find out if you are a good candidate for dental implants, contact our practice in Fountain Valley today. Dr. Mortensen will conduct an oral exam and advise you of your options.