One of the questions we’re often asked is “Do dental implants have any age restrictions?” This article tells you all you need to know, But first, let us explain what dental implants are and how they work as this knowledge is instrumental to answering the question.
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots predominantly made from titanium and surgically fitted into the jawbone below the gums. Because titanium is a biocompatible material, the implants fuse with the surrounding bone to become a permanent feature in the mouth, in a process known as osseointegration. Once fusion has occurred, dental implants form a solid foundation that can support replacement teeth in the form of a dental crown, bridge, or denture. The replacement teeth are carefully crafted to match the surrounding teeth for a flawless smile, making it difficult to distinguish between them and natural teeth.
At Chesterfield Dentistry, the entire dental implant process is carried out at our clinic. Patients are requested to attend a consultation where their suitability for treatment is assessed clinically and with the assistance of 3D imaging. As with many health procedures, there are circumstances where dental implants would be ill-advised. Age is one key consideration. So do tooth implants have any age restrictions? Well yes, and no! Let’s start with the minimum age for a dental implant.
The age of a patient is an important consideration, particularly if they are young and have already lost, or are likely to lose, a tooth due to a sports injury or accident. Dental implants are only recommended for patients whose jaws have stopped growing and this varies greatly from one individual to another. For girls, it can be around the age of 15 and 17 for boys. However, a careful growth assessment will be required before going ahead with the procedure.
Why is it necessary to wait until the jaws have stopped growing?
Dental implants placed in children’s jaws could impede jaw production since their jaws are still developing. Because implants are placed directly into the jawbone, they lack the functioning periodontal ligament of natural teeth, which means they can’t move and will look shorter compared to natural teeth that have shifted as the jaw grows. By waiting, their jaws will have reached the point where getting dental implants won’t stunt jaw growth.
If we have to defer a dental implant, we can pursue other options until the time is right for the youngster to have implant treatment. Options include a removable partial denture, a bridge or possibly braces if orthodontic treatment was already on the cards before the tooth got damaged. It’s best to talk things through with your dentist who can analyze bone growth and determine a dental implant timeline.
Now for the good news. There is no upper age limit for dental implants. The majority of implants we place are for more mature patients who have lost one or more teeth or are struggling with loose-fitting dentures and want a more comfortable solution.
That said, as a patient ages, there are other factors to consider, such as medical health, bone density, and even cost. Dental implants don’t come cheap. You can expect to pay between $3,100 to $5,800 for a single implant; $6,000 to $10,000 for an implant bridge; and between $24,000 to $50,000 for a full mouth restoration (All on 4 Implants). If patients are in their late senior years, they may consider an investment of this magnitude to be inappropriate for them.
Instead, they may prefer a more conservative, affordable option, to meet their needs, such as a partial or full denture.
It’s best not to leave it any longer than 3-6 months after loss before replacing a tooth or multiple teeth with dental implants. Why is this?
There are several benefits when getting fitted earlier in life with dental implants. These include:
Preserve jaw bone health
The absence of tooth roots in cases of missing teeth can result in jaw bone atrophy. Dental implants feature a post that mimics a natural tooth root, stimulating the jaw and preventing bone loss.
Enhance overall comfort
A dental implant closely replicates the look, feel, and function of a natural tooth. This enables you to indulge in your favourite foods without dietary restrictions and eliminates the need for dental adhesives or discomfort caused by poorly fitting appliances. Additionally, implants contribute to clearer speech without the bulkiness associated with dentures.
No need to remove
While dentures can restore the appearance of your smile, the inconvenience of removing them during meals or brushing may lead to embarrassment. Dental implants, in contrast, remain securely in place at all times, allowing you to enjoy a confident smile without the inconvenience of removable components.
Enjoy long-term benefits
Dental implants, impervious to cavities, are engineered for enduring results. While their initial cost may surpass that of dentures or bridges, their superior long-term value lies in promoting optimal oral health and eliminating the need for frequent replacements. With proper care, dental implants can last for 10 years, or longer in many cases.
Safeguard adjacent teeth
Dental implants are self-supporting, preserving their stability without compromising the health of surrounding teeth. In contrast, dental bridges necessitate the reduction of neighboring healthy teeth to accommodate the bridge and rely on existing teeth for support.
The best way to learn more about dental implants and whether they’re right for you is to schedule a free implant consultation with the experienced team at Chesterfield Dentistry. Call today at 314-936-3621 or use our online booking system.