Not everyone chooses to have dental implants immediately after losing a tooth. Some patients can wait for years before deciding to take the plunge. This being the case, you may be wondering when is it too late to get dental implants. While the short answer is it’s never too late to get dental implants, there are some factors to consider before deciding to replace missing teeth with dental implants.
This post explores the crucial considerations for determining the suitability of dental implant placement. We’ll delve into the pros and cons of opting for dental implants several years post-tooth extraction. By the end of this read, you will gain a clearer insight into whether dental implants align with your needs. Let's dive in!
While most dentists would prefer you replace missing teeth earlier rather than later, it’s not unheard of for patients to wait several years after tooth extraction before deciding to get dental implants placed. This may be due to financial circumstances or personal preference.
Although it is possible to place dental implants several years after a tooth extraction, a few factors can complicate matters when the time eventually feels right for you to embark on your implant journey.
So, when is it too late to get dental implants?
The good news is that it’s never too late to get dental implants even if many years have elapsed since you lost your tooth or teeth.
That said, certain issues can occur when you put off tooth replacement and this can impact your suitability for the procedure.
Tooth loss goes hand in hand with bone loss. Within the initial three months post-extraction, nearly two-thirds of the associated hard and soft tissues experience varying degrees of resorption. Moreover, the majority of bone loss occurs within six months of the procedure. Unfortunately, the longer you delay tooth replacement, the more bone is lost, which means there is less bone in which to insert the implant post (artificial tooth root) and less support for the replacement tooth (crown). Without sufficient bone in the jaw for the implant to attach to, it’s likely to fail.
Furthermore, the successful placement of dental implants necessitates a specific amount of healthy gum tissue. If a considerable duration has lapsed since tooth extraction and the gum tissue has undergone shrinkage, immediate placement of dental implants may not be feasible.
The loss of a tooth may cause neighboring teeth to shift towards the gap, causing misalignment. If you choose dental implants later on, the space left by the extracted tooth might become too narrow for implant placement.
During your initial consultation with a skilled implant dentist, you'll be guided through the dental implant decision-making process. They'll carefully weigh the pros and cons, crafting a personalized treatment plan that suits your needs.
Pre-implant procedures like bone grafting or a sinus lift will likely be required to rebuild the bone in your jaw to provide stability for the implant, and if misalignment has occurred, you may also require orthodontic treatment to close the spaces and align the teeth. Unfortunately, these treatments incur an additional cost on top of that for your dental implant surgery.
That said, not all implant techniques require an abundance of bone and you may be able to avoid pre-prosthetic treatments with the following implant techniques.
All-on-Four Dental Implants – This innovative system utilizes just four dental implants to secure a hybrid denture that replaces all of the teeth in an arch. While several visits will be necessary to plan your treatment, on the day of surgery, you will leave the clinic with a full set of temporary teeth and return a few months later after healing to have a permanent denture fitted.
Zygomatic Dental Implants - Instead of being placed in the jaw, these implants are placed into the zygoma (cheek) bone – an area that doesn’t succumb to bone loss. Learn more about the benefits of this amazing technique.
Subperiosteal Implants – These are a type of implant used when a patient has insufficient bone to support a regular dental implant. Rather than being placed into the jawbone like a conventional dental implant, they form part of a metal framework that is placed above the bone and beneath the gum tissue. However, the surgery for this type of implant is more complex and patients typically take longer to recover.
Hopefully, this article has answered your question “When is it too late to get dental implants?”
Why not schedule a complimentary implant consultation with the experienced team at Chesterfield Dentistry? We can assess the quality and quantity of your jawbone with a comprehensive exam and CBCT scan to ascertain which dental implant technique is best suited to your situation and preference.