Implants are often recommended to patients who have lost teeth due to an accident or decay. If this has happened to you, you may be wondering if dental implants are the right solution.
Can you ever be too young or too old for dental implants?
Understanding Dental Implants
Placing an implant is a minor surgery that involves embedding a screw-shaped titanium post in your jaw where the missing tooth used to be. Next, an abutment is placed on top of this post. Finally, a crown that’s shaped to mimic the appearance of your missing tooth is attached to the abutment.
During the healing process, the titanium post fuses with your jawbone, making your implant strong and secure, just like a natural tooth. It doesn’t need the surrounding teeth to offer support. The crown can last 15 years or longer, and the implant itself will be stable for life, depending on your oral hygiene.
Why Are They Needed?
You may have lost a tooth from a sports injury or a car accident. Maybe you had serious periodontal disease that caused tooth loss, or just a cavity so deep the tooth couldn’t be saved. Whatever the case, dental implants can help prevent bone loss and contribute to better overall oral health.
When a tooth is lost, the jawbone immediately begins to reabsorb into the body, since it’s no longer needed. This can endanger the surrounding teeth and alter the shape of your face. Dental implants prevent this from happening, because they are placed into the jawbone, stabilizing the entire area.
Cautions for Younger Patients
Unfortunately, children can’t get implants because their jawbones have not yet finished growing. However, there are alternatives, such as a bridge with a false tooth. Dental bonding is also an option, where a replacement tooth is attached to one of the neighboring natural teeth.
It’s typically not recommended to perform dental implant surgery until patients are 17 if they’re male and 15 if they’re female. Talk to your oral health care professional to get a full assessment of your child’s readiness.
Success with Elderly Patients
You’re never too old for dental implants! As long as elders are in good health, they are candidates for this procedure.
Talk to Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial about dental implants, and learn more about the placement process.